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Blake Griffin: ‘We’ve put in the work, and we want do this for the city’

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Steve Serby put a lot of questions to Blake Griffin, as he does with all his interview guests —things about his career, his likes and dislikes, but Griffin clearly wanted to talk about things at hand, the playoffs and how he wants that ring.

And at the end, the Post reporter asked what his message is for Brooklyn’s fans. It was in the same vein.

“We take this very seriously, we don’t take anything for granted. We’ve put in the work, and we want do this for the city.”

Griffin, like his teammate James Harden, came to Brooklyn with one idea, to win it all, cap off a career that’s seen him change roles, win a lot but never getting the ring. Now’s his chance. He described the Nets mindset ... more workman-like than dramatic.

“One series at a time, one game at a time. We’re not trying to overlook anybody, we’re giving everybody the respect. We’re putting in the time this week and want to come out and put our game plan to action,” said the 32-year-old.

Talking about what it would mean to him personally at this stage of his career, his life, Griffin told Serby, “It’s something I dreamed about for as long as I can remember.”

Griffin has played in 53 post-season games that include three triple-doubles, seven games with more than 30 points and five with more than 15 rebounds. His career playoff averages are nearly the same as his regular season numbers. He’s put up 21.2 points, 8.5 boards and 4.0 assists.

Of course with the Nets, his role has changed although in recent weeks, he’s back to starting at center. Whatever is needed, he noted, is what you’ll get.

“My role might have changed, but my mentality doesn’t change. It’s always to affect the game in the most ways possible and help make the teammates better,” he noted.

He also finds it ironic that he’s gone from someone critics button-holed as only a dunker to someone who they think (or thought) can’t dunk anymore. He’s proud of the other parts of his game.

“I’ve always been able to handle the ball well and I was continually working on my game. That kinda put me in this hole, but now I kinda see it for what it is. When I started out, that was all people said, and now all the people say I can’t do that anymore. Criticism now doesn’t really bother me.

Griffin also provided Serby with thumbnail sketches of his “Big Three” teammates and Steve Nash, starting with Kevin Durant who he’s known since high school.

“You still see that same … that he has that killer mentality. I think at this point in his career and his life, he’s just comfortable with who he is, comfortable being himself. And that’s what we need him to be.”

So what about Kyrie Irving?

“He has the ability to get his shot in 100 different ways, and within those 100 different ways, he has four or finishes off each different way. He shoots all of ’em it seems like at a pretty high percentage.”

...James Harden?

“I think his IQ. He’s talented physically, obviously, and can shoot, has a good handle and all that and passes really well, but his IQ is off the charts.”

...and Steve Nash?

“It’s been great, man. He’s a very poised coach and obviously a guy who knows what it’s like to be a player in this league and (how) to play a certain style. It’s been a joy.”

He was also asked his reaction to the Clean Sweep in June 2019, then the Harden trade.

“Those two guys, at the end of games, I don’t know … if there’s three guys you’d want to have the ball in their hands at the end of games, or four guys — I think Dame [Damian Lillard] and KD and Kyrie are three of ’em. So when they joined up, it was like those are two guys that can go get you a bucket at the end of games, but when James [Harden] came, it was kinda the same thing.”

He also an interesting take on Brooklyn fans.

“The fans that are able to come to games have been loud and great. I’ve always thought Brooklyn had really good fans. It’s kinda more of a college atmosphere than most NBA arenas.”

And the job at hand, the Boston Celtics?

“Well-coached, very talented and they play hard. This isn’t by any means an easy matchup. They got some players that can really go get it, so we gotta be right all series long.”

There’s a lot more there. This is Steve Serby after all.