Clippers forward Blake Griffin dunks in front of Utah Jazz forward Paul… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
The evolution of Blake Griffin continues.
That was evident during the Utah Jazz game Saturday night.
The Clippers' All-Star forward didn't score in the second quarter and had only one rebound in 6 minutes 43 seconds of play. He got frustrated in the second quarter and was issued a technical foul. His man, Paul Millsap, scored 12 of his 17 first-half points in the quarter.
But when Griffin came back out for the second half, he was a changed player.
He had 12 points on five-for-six shooting in the third quarter. He had four rebounds and one steal and forced Millsap to pick up his fourth foul.
"It's about being solid throughout the game," said Griffin, who finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. "Sometimes I don't need to be out there scoring the basketball. Sometimes I just need to play defense and make hustle plays, passing the ball, doing things like that."
Keeping his composure is something Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro wants Griffin to do better.
Griffin has 11 technical fouls, tied with two other players for the second-most in the league. If he gets five more, Griffin will be suspended for a game and fined $5,000.
"I think Blake has grown in a lot of areas," Del Negro said. "He's got to control some of those emotional things that can be detrimental to the team. He understands that."
Griffin leads the Clippers in scoring (18.5) and rebounds (8.6) and is second in assists (3.6).
"We rely a lot on him," Del Negro said. "I'm more concerned about defense and rebounding and those things. Obviously, he's improved offensively in areas. And he's only going to get better because he works hard like we always talk about.…His growth has been positive, I think."
Del Negro still seeks improvement
With only 24 regular-season games left, Del Negro went through a laundry list of things he wants to see his team improve upon.
"Our turnovers have to come down, for sure," Del Negro said. "Our three-point defense has to get better. Our overall rebounding has to get better. Our overall execution on offense has to get better. And all the little things: controlling the technicals, not giving up rebounds off free throws, time and score and finishing at the end of quarter and at the half. It's all those things."
The Clippers average 15 turnovers a game, tied for the 11th-most in the league.
They allow teams to make 37% of their three-points shots, eighth-worst in the league.
They average 41.8 rebounds, only the 17th-best in the league.
They have 53 individual technical fouls.
Jamal Crawford missed practice Monday because his wife was having a baby. Crawford is expected to be back for Tuesday's game against the Charlotte Bobcats.... Grant Hill missed practice because he was at the dentist. Hill also is expected to be at Tuesday night's game.