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Clippers After Deadline: Blake Griffin's rookie season in the books

April 13, 2011 | 11:34 pm

Photo: Blake Griffin. Credit: Paul Buck / European Press Agency. Teammate Jamario Moon was busy teasing and informing Blake Griffin of his progress as he got closer to his second career triple-double.

"I didn't plan on getting one tonight," Griffin said. "I swear I didn't mean to miss that last shot."

On Wednesday, Griffin hit the triple-double in the last 3.9 seconds of the season, grabbing two rebounds. He finished with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Clippers' 110-103 victory over Memphis in the regular-season finale

Now comes the chance to rest his sore right elbow. And, well, he can use his other arm to pick up his rookie-of-the-year trophy when that anticipated honor becomes official.

"I think it's funny how at the beginning of the year, I would get Twitter comments like, 'Hey, John Wall is going to beat you, rookie of the year,' " Griffin said, smiling. "So-and-so is going to beat you and now they come in, 'You cheated. You’re not even a rookie.' It's one those things where it's great, but I’m not hanging my hat on that. It’s not going to make or break my career."

Griffin said late in the season that he would be glad when he was no longer a rookie. He emphasized that point again.

"I'll be happy. Being a rookie is different," he said. "I don't know for sure yet. But my freshman year of college, I had no idea what I was doing and then toward the end of the season you feel better. That next summer for me is important, and I plan on putting in a lot of time and a lot of work."

He has learned to pace himself.

"Guys really take over games in the fourth quarter and that's when they come on strong," Griffin said. "I noticed that right out of the gate, I'm just taking off full speed and sometimes I didn't have a lot left in the tank. It worked out sometimes because Eric [Gordon] is such a great fourth-quarter scorer. But I definitely learned from that."

The next goal for Griffin: The playoffs. The culture around the Clippers is changing, with Griffin and Gordon the cornerstones.

"Just keep changing the mind-set, keep changing the attitude," Griffin said. "Obviously keep the ship in the right direction, no pun intended. We've got pieces. We've got great pieces. We've got to get some guys."

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-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Blake Griffin. Credit: Paul Buck / European Press Agency.

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