If Chris Paul meant to challenge his teammate Blake Griffin when he said recently that the Los Angeles Clippers will "definitely go as Blake goes" it worked.

Not only did Griffin hear his teammates words he agreed with them.

"[Paul] has a huge role on this team" Griffin said Thursday in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com. "He's been the guy who has closed out a lot of games late for us.

"But in my mind this is the year I need to step into that role and really help him shoulder that load. I'll be right there with him at the end of games being the guy that he can always count on."

Griffin 24 has developed into one of the best power forwards in NBA during his first three seasons but has yet to advance past the second round of the playoffs.

Griffin made his third straight All-Star team last season but his season averages in scoring (18.0) and rebounding (8.3) fell off slightly from his career averages (20.4 points 10.4 rebounds) as he played nearly three fewer minutes per game during the regular season at 32.5 in an attempt to stay healthier for the playoffs.

Griffin's assists rose to 3.7 per game in 2012-13 from 3.2 in 2011-12 while his steals rose from 0.8 to 1.2 per game over the same period.

"Blake is one of those guys where his age has nothing to do with anything" Paul said in a phone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com on Aug. 6. "People may say he's a young guy but he's been special in this league he's been an All-Star. His voice carries a lot of weight and I think our team will definitely go as Blake goes.

"He's our guy and he's good enough to do so."

Griffin was in Los Angeles Thursday and back at the Clippers' training facility attending a promotional event for Red Bull's midnight basketball tournament. He's been traveling for a large chunk of the summer both for business and vacation but said he's been able to heal completely from an ankle injury that limited him in the Clippers' first-round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and work on his face-up game.

"To be honest I'm more excited about this upcoming season than I've ever been" Griffin said. "My workouts with [shooting coach] Bob Thate and our coaches have been geared around figuring out how I'm going to be used this season.