LOS ANGELES -- Since his rookie season, there's not much Blake Griffin hasn't been able to do.
He has replicated his posterizing dunks. He has started the All-Star Game twice. He has helped the Clippers win a playoff series.
But Wednesday night in a 117-101 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, Griffin was able to replicate the one feat from his rookie season.
For the first time since April 13, 2011, Griffin had a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against the Bucks.
"Passing the ball matters to me," Griffin said. "Rebounding and scoring are kind of the staples and part of my game, but being able to pass and get guys open and create offense that way is important to me."
Chris Paul said Griffin's capable of delivering these kinds of numbers on a regular basis.
"He does such a great job of finding that next open guy," Paul said. "When we're playing like that, guys don't know whether to help or let him dunk it."
Griffin grabbed his 10th rebound in the fourth quarter -- right after taking part in one of the team's best highlights of the year.
Alone on a fast break, Jamal Crawford jumped, put the ball between his legs in the air and flipped it back over his head, where Griffin caught it and windmilled it home for a slam.
Crawford's slick assist came on a night where his jumper was just as smooth. Crawford hit 11 of 16 from the field to lead the Clippers with 25 points.
"I honestly didn't know what we were going to do. I just saw we had a whole open court," Crawford said. "We've got the best jumper in the world right there, and we might as well be creative."
Coach wants attitude
The Clippers and Coach Vinny Del Negro know they need to tweak their attitude over the final quarter of the season as they push towards the playoffs.
"We have to get a little nastier," Del Negro said before Wednesday's game. "At times, we've done it in spurts throughout the season. But with 20 games left, I think it's important that we build up to that playoff mentality."
The Clippers were tested physically in the first round of the playoffs last season in a seven-game series with Memphis, and two key pieces from that victory, reserve forwards Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans, are no longer with the team.
Still, Del Negro thinks this Clippers' roster is better equipped to handle a physical series as well as a more up-tempo playoff battle.
"I think this team is built better for both situations," he said.
The Clippers were on the wrong end of some nastiness Sunday, when Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka struck Griffin below the belt.
"Hopefully, we're going to see that team again," Del Negro said. "That team is young and is going to be around for awhile. We just have to put that in our memory bank and understand that we have to be a little bit nastier throughout the game."
Nasty doesn't mean retaliating, though. Del Negro said he wants to see his team be more disruptive on defense, more physical in setting screens and more urgent on loose balls.
"We need to be more aggressive. We need to be more physical. We need to hit first," Matt Barnes said. "If that's being more nasty, that's what we need to do."
Chauncey Billups headed into the All-Star break with a ton of momentum after scoring 19 points against Houston and 21 against the Lakers.
But in the six games since, Billups has struggled, hitting just 25.9 percent of his shots heading into Wednesday's game.
"Chauncey hadn't played for a year, and we're throwing him out there, and he's had some good moments for us," Del Negro said. "No question we need him to continually improve."
(c)2013 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Visit The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) at www.ocregister.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services