LOS ANGELES — In a moment of pure spontaneity, Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin created a singular moment Wednesday night at Staples Center, something so amazing it had to be seen over and over again to be appreciated.
By now, it must certainly be a YouTube sensation — a fast-break basket that began with Crawford passing the ball between his legs and flipping it in the air for a trailing Griffin, his Clippers teammate, who slammed it down with a windmill move. It was the stuff of video highlights.
That was the play the Clippers were talking about after their 117-101 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, a win marked by Griffin’s third career triple-double — and his first since his rookie season 2010-2011.
Griffin finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on a night the Clippers shot 54 percent from the field and converted 12 three-point shots.
“Blake is capable of that every night,” guard Chris Paul said. “He’s one of those guys that commands the double team every night. It’s a matter of us making shots. He gets double- and triple-teamed every night, so when we make shots like we did tonight, he has the opportunity to triple-double.”
Griffin also can be routinely spectacular, as he and Crawford proved with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter.
The play began with guard Eric Bledsoe stealing a pass intended for Milwaukee’s JJ Redick and tossing it ahead to Crawford, who had already broken toward the Clippers’ basket with Griffin a couple of steps behind.
“I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do,” Crawford recalled. “I just saw that we had a whole open court and the best jumper in the world right there. Might as well get creative.
“That’s something I’ve always wanted to do in a game, or if I made the All-Star game. Blake just took it to a whole new level.”
Crawford knew there was no one around to disrupt his creativity. He bounced the ball, passed it between his legs from his left hand to his right as he drove the lane, then tossed it just high enough for Griffin to grab it.
It would have been an easy dunk, but Griffin added a little flair, making a windmill motion before throwing down the ball.
The sellout Staples crowd rose to its feet. Griffin and Crawford went back to their bench grinning at each other as the Bucks called timeout.
“I honestly had no idea what he was going to do,” Griffin said. “I thought he was going to throw it off the backboard. Normally in a situation like that you’re looking at each other like, what are you going to do? But he didn’t even look back. I was just kind of stuck out there.”
Griffin had already reached double figures in scoring and assists, but his 10th rebound didn’t come until there were 6 minutes 2 seconds left in the game and the Clippers in front by 17 points. That’s when he grabbed a missed three-pointer by Redick. He exited two minutes later to a standing ovation.
His 11 assists represented a career high.
“Passing the ball matters to me,” he said. “Rebounding and scoring are staples, and that’s part of my game, but being able to pass and get guys open and create offense that way is important to me.”
Griffin’s last triple-double was April 13, 2011, the last game of his rookie season, one which culminated in the rookie of the year award.