LOS ANGELES — The Blake Griffin Return Game? More like the Blake Griffin Revenge Game.
In his first game against the Clippers at Staples Center since they traded him in a bombshell blockbuster a year ago, Griffin scored a game-high 44 points to lead the struggling Pistons to a 109-104 victory.
“You know what they can do, what hurts them, yet it seems like the way the basketball gods turn out, when they come home – it’s not just (former Clippers stars Griffin, DeAndre Jordan or Chris Paul), it’s anyone who comes back to their place – they find a way of hurting you,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said before the game. “It’s just the way it works.
“It’s amazing,” he continued. “You tend to want to beat the people you know more than strangers, and it should be the exact opposite sometimes.”
And the Clippers organization is oh-so-familiar with Griffin, who was the No. 1 overall pick and a five-time All-Star in his seven-plus seasons with the team. Griffin reportedly hasn’t spoken to Clippers management since the trade, and certainly not to Rivers, the coach said matter-of-factly Saturday morning.
Then, in a moment reminiscent of the instance when Griffin reportedly blew off the Clippers’ longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler last season soon after the trade, Griffin left Steve Ballmer hanging courtside pregame Saturday, when he sprinted past his former team’s owner – whose hand was extended – after his warm-ups were complete.
And then he went out and made 13 of his 23 shots, including going 5 for 13 from deep and 13 of 14 from the free-throw line. Pistons teammate Andre Drummond finished the game with 20 points and 21 rebounds.
The Clippers, of course, traded Griffin on Jan. 29, just six months after they made him a pitch in which they depicted him as a “lifelong Clipper” during a free agency. Griffin signed a five-year, $171 million contract – and then was was traded.
Griffin – who went to Detroit for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first-round draft pick (which became Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) and a second-round pick in 2019 – had his second-biggest scoring game of the season for the Pistons (18-23).
The Clippers (24-18) trailed 90-80 entering the fourth quarter, when it took them just about two minutes to get within 92-90 before the Pistons worked to separate themselves again.
With 7:57 remaining, Danilo Gallinari (23 points) hit two free throws to make …read more
Source:: Dailynews – News