AUBURN HILLS – It’s probably too late to salvage the season, but Blake Griffin is finding his comfort level in the Detroit Pistons offense.
Griffin is averaging 28 points over the past four games, shooting 50.6 percent (41-of-81), including 50 percent from 3-point range (12-of-24).
“Just being a little more decisive,” Griffin said. “After All-Star break, I think I was being too passive. Stan (Pistons coach Van Gundy) and a lot of the coaches talked with me about being more aggressive, looking at the basket first. I think that’s what I’ve done.”
Said Van Gundy: “I think he’s just shot the ball with a lot less hesitation. Before, I think he was always looking pass-first, and so he wasn’t shooting shots in rhythm, so I think that has a lot to do with it.”
The Pistons (30-36) will need more of that from Griffin during a six-game Western trip that starts tonight in Utah. The Jazz (37-30) are 18-2 in their past 20 games, a run that began with a 98-95 overtime victory over the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on Jan. 24.
Five days later, the Pistons acquired Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Pistons won their first four games with Griffin on the floor, but his integration was far from smooth. In his first 13 games, Griffin shots 39.3 percent from the field, including 25.4 percent from beyond the arc, and averaged 17.8 points.
He wasn’t getting the ball close enough to the basket and was taking far too many long-range shots.
Griffin has developed chemistry with Reggie Bullock, who has scored 21 points in each of the past two games and three of the past five.
“We played together before (with the Clippers) and I think he was kind of familiar with how I ran stuff with J.J. Reddick and Jamal Crawford and those guys, the guys he learned under,” Griffin said. “He’s done an unbelievable job. He could always shoot. The area he’s made the biggest improvement from his rookie year, second year, is he gets himself open, and he does that by cutting back door, constantly moving, being physical, being smart.”
Bullock’s status for Tuesday’s game is in doubt due to back spasms caused by a car accident Sunday, when he was hit on the way to practice by a driver who fled the scene.
Kennard does more than score
Luke Kennard has played 30-plus minutes in each of the past two games, after being out of the rotation the previous four games, not getting off the bench in two of them.
Kennard made only 5-of-17 shots (29.4 percent) but averaged 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the two games.
“I thought he was good (in Friday’s victory over Chicago), much better,” Van Gundy said. “He was more aggressive, looking to make plays, rebounded the ball. He will shoot the ball better. If he plays that aggressively, he’s going to play well.”
Van Gundy said he’s not worried about Kennard’s stats.
“I’m worried about the energy he brings and the aggressiveness at both ends of the floor,” Van Gundy said. “Shots will fall; he hasn’t played a lot lately.”