T.J. SIMERS

Clippers' Blake Griffin could have a monumental career

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The Clippers played at the same level against the Lakers on Sunday as they had during a 17-game winning streak this season when they were considered contenders for an NBA championship.

They get Chauncey Billups back, and well, look who is dreaming now.

As for maturing, Griffin, much like Matt Kemp, is oozing with ability but also has been forced to grow quickly to satisfy the expectations of sports fans and sportswriters.

"I absolutely 100% agree with you I need to mature and get better with officials," Griffin said. "I've had that conversation with not only you, but my teammates, my coaches, my dad, friends, everybody."

He said it's very much like his development as an outside shooter, just something that will come but in time and with some pain.

"It's about the process," said Griffin, and a waste of brute strength at times when allowing the defense a break and settling for a step-back jumper.

"I understand," said Griffin. "I shot better than 60% from the field in college because I was dominating inside the paint. So why would I shoot out there when no one can really stop me inside?

"But to be better as a player, I have to take those outside shots. If I don't take those shots, then in time it's going to be harder and harder on me."

So the maturation of a potential superstar continues. Maybe not as quickly as some columnists might like, but there are statues to be built.

I don't want to sound like Kareem here, but the sooner Griffin gets his, others can be considered.

tj.simers@latimes.com

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