LOS ANGELES — Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin turned in an emphatic, 44-point efficiency in his first assembly at Staples Middle against his former staff, because the Pistons prevailed over the LA Clippers, 109-104, on Saturday.

“It was good to get that sport over with,” Griffin stated. “I form of examine it to the primary sport of the yr in a manner. There’s such a giant hype main up to it, after which as soon as it is carried out, you’ve to play 81 extra. Now we’ve got to play 41 extra or no matter it’s. It is over and I am transferring on, they’re transferring on.”

The sold-out crowd at Staples Middle obtained Griffin warmly throughout participant introductions. Throughout the first timeout of the sport, the Clippers honored Griffin with a video tribute, a compilation of profession highlights and a few of his trademark endorsement campaigns. After the presentation, Griffin obtained a rousing standing ovation and waved to the group.

“I did not see all of it, however I noticed bits and items,” Griffin stated of the video. “It was actually cool to be welcomed again like that. It means quite a bit. I recognize all these followers right here.”

In late December, Griffin instructed ESPN that, as a participant who’s propelled by feelings, he imagined Saturday’s sport can be a passionate occasion. After the sport, Griffin stated that when he awoke Saturday morning, that sense of anticipation wasn’t as acute as he anticipated.

“I believed I did a superb job for essentially the most half [of managing emotions],” Griffin stated. “I’ve performed in some massive video games, and it was simpler than I believed. I wasn’t overhyped — I used to be correctly hyped.”

Griffin dominated the motion within the first half, scoring 26 points on 10 area objective makes an attempt — together with Three-for-6 past the arc — earlier than intermission. Because the Clippers lower a double-digit lead to two points within the fourth quarter, Griffin drained a layup within the three-minute mark over two defenders to give Detroit a 107-99 lead. He additionally assisted on two essential Three-pointers by Reggie Bullock, one other former Clippers draftee, at a juncture when the Pistons had been having a troublesome time manufacturing baskets.

The Pistons’ Blake Griffin acknowledges the Staples Middle crowd on Saturday. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE through Getty Photos

“When he is received it going like that on offense, it is powerful for groups,” Bullock stated. “They’ve to make an adjustment on the defensive finish. They’ve to begin doubling him. As soon as they double, it is my time to shine.”

The Pistons held off the Clippers with a sequence of defensive spots, yielding solely three area objectives to Los Angeles within the last 9 minutes of the sport. Although Griffin largely downplayed the precise significance of his return, emphasizing the significance of the win for a staff that had dropped 9 of its earlier 11 video games, teammates and coaches expressed satisfaction on Griffin’s behalf.

“I believed [the win] meant quite a bit to him,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey stated. “A very powerful factor was his teammates had been excited for it, and that could be a signal of togetherness, and needed to pull in your teammate, the success of your teammate. I believed that was actually necessary.”

Throughout the summer time of 2017, the Clippers signed their homegrown star to a five-year most contract, pitching Griffin with an elaborate presentation that had the first theme of “Clipper for Life.” Six months later, Griffin was traded to Detroit in a bundle deal in change for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and a 2018 first-round decide. Griffin discovered of the transaction from a 3rd get together and has expressed misgivings in regards to the course of.

“Most trades and departures do not go very properly, for the document,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers stated throughout his pregame media availability. “They only do not. They do not go properly. All of them come again ultimately.”

Prior to the sport, Clippers proprietor Steve Ballmer waited for Griffin to conclude his warm-up routine. As Griffin completed, Ballmer referred to as out to his former famous person from the sideline and prolonged his hand. Slightly than greet Ballmer, Griffin made his signature nonstop dash after his last shot from the court docket by means of the tunnel and to the locker room. At his postgame information convention, Griffin maintained that his longtime ritual took precedence over any perceived snub.

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“For 9 years now, as soon as I am carried out doing my pregame taking pictures, I be sure that there is a path, and I take off operating to the locker room and I do not cease operating,” Griffin stated. “I do not change that for anyone … That is what it was, plain and easy. It wasn’t something deliberate.”

Griffin exchanged phrases on the buzzer with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, by no means one to lengthen hospitality to an opponent, however traded hugs with former teammates Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.

Griffin was drafted first total by the Clippers within the 2009 NBA draft. After lacking the whole thing of his first season to harm, he stormed onto the scene in 2010, profitable Rookie of the 12 months in a unanimous vote and was chosen to the All-Star Sport 5 instances as a Clipper. Throughout Griffin’s tenure with the staff, the Clippers loved their most profitable stretch in franchise historical past, together with six consecutive playoff appearances.

“The most effective factor to be part of is one thing larger than your self,” Griffin stated. “That is what it was. I do not have a look at it like what I did.”

Rivers stated that Griffin was essentially the most important presence in turning across the picture of the beforehand woebegone Clippers franchise.

“Blake, individually, is the one who began all of it,” Rivers stated. “He is the dunk contest winner. He wore a Clipper jersey. Folks understood. And now once you hear our identify, you do not consider these dangerous Clippers earlier than Blake. So for me, Blake is the one who began that, so any success we had, for my part, from this level forward, is due to Blake, [DeAndre Jordan] and Chris [Paul] — and in that order.”

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