LOS ANGELES – In a long-awaited revenge against his former team, Blake Griffin punished the Los Angeles Clippers in every imaginable way on Saturday: thinning three times, throwing hammers, hitting the bridge with stray balloons and inviting chippy swaps. But he swore that the only message he sent during the game did not arrive early.
The five-time forward of the Detroit Pistons – who told journalists that they had not been in contact with Clippers' front office since it was suddenly exchanged a month ago this month – went home with a 44-point high game and a 109 – 104 victory on the road. Later, Griffin was adamant that a viral video that seemed to show him that he was ignoring a handshake attempt by Clippers' owner, Steve Ballmer, was not a deliberate distraction from his former boss.
"For nine years, once I've finished my shooting practice, I'll make sure there's a path and I'll walk to the locker room," Griffin said. "I do not stop running, many of you have seen me do it before, I do not change it for anyone, so to tweet something like that, I thought it was a bull". It was like this. Every game I've done, for how long. "
However, Griffin's constant frustration of being blindfolded by the blockbuster – after spending his first eight NBA seasons in Los Angeles – was evident. When Griffin immediately asked the Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, he just said, "He's no longer my coach."
Will he shake hands with Ballmer, the irritable former CEO of Microsoft and owner of Clippers since 2014, like a disaster?
"Honestly, I'm not here to answer hypothetical questions," Griffin said bluntly.
The Clippers helped tease, welcoming Griffin with a large tribute video. The crowd at the Staples Center greeted him with a standing ovation, and his flagship games were dispersed throughout the night.
However, L.A. he had the wrong side of Griffin's complete experience all afternoon. He started warmly and scored 15 points in the first quarter to become the first Pistons player from Jerry Stackhouse in 2001 to count several games from 40 points in the same season. Griffin fought through regular double teams and added eight rebounds, five assists, three balls and one block. He fired 13-23 off the field, punched five points, fired a total of 14 free-throw attempts and seemed to enjoy heated interviews from chest to chest with Clippers guarding Patrick Beverley.
At the buzzer, Griffin and Beverley were in a final discussion before both teams went their own way. Griffin landed in the Pistons locker room and dedicated the top five to each team member. Later there was fun in the locker room.
"I thought it meant a lot to Blake," said Pistons coach Dwane Casey, who praised Griffin as a cultural change for a Clippers franchise that was the first to select it in design in 2009. "The most important thing was that his teammates were enthusiastic about him. "
Both the Clippers and the Pistons are right to be satisfied with the Griffin trade, which Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic have sent from The Detroit to LA The Pistons, who are in the mix only for their second & # 39; postseason & # 39; looking forward to the last decade, they have their most marketable star in years. Griffin averaged 24.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists and is on track for his first star appearance since 2015.
We are pleased to have it, & # 39; said Casey of Griffin. "He is the basis of our program for the future, and tonight he showed how he plays on an all-pro-not-all-star-all-pro level."
In the meantime L.A. remains in the fiercely controversial playoff photos of the West and Harris is a star candidate. Ballmer and his front office also dream of allowing several free stars to land in 2019 after the last four years of the five-year contract with $ 171 million from Griffin.
Griffin's final grievance for the mechanics of commerce is not surprising. THERE. he had executed him during the summer of 2017 with a "Clipper for Life" camp and a fake jersey board. Only seven months later he was sent to Detroit with a small warning. On Saturday, he recognized Clippers' branch of olive oil and seemed ready to overcome the drama round-trip.
"It was nice, friend, really fantastic," Griffin said of the tribute video. "Being welcome again, it means a lot, I really appreciate all these fans here, next time you come here, [the attention and hype] obviously it will not be the same It's nice to let the game end. "
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