Blake Griffin lowered his head and walked off the court after his old Clippers team defeated his new Detroit Pistons team, 108-95, without saying a word to anyone from L.A.
Griffin didn’t shake any of his former teammates’ hands before or after the Clippers ran away from the Pistons in the fourth quarter with a 31-15 finish Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Griffin didn’t talk to any of the Clippers’ coaches or the support staff before or after. It was as if the Clippers team Griffin spent the first nine years of his career with didn’t exist.
It was as if the Clippers team that traded him, Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to the Pistons for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and draft picks was null and void in Griffin’s eyes.
Griffin had 19 points but he was just seven-for-19 from the field, one-for-seven from three-point range.
“At the end of the day, there’s really just one guy there [from] when I first got there,” Griffin said, referring to the eight-plus years he played with DeAndre Jordan. “At the start of the season, we had nine new guys. Organizational, yeah, I was there for nine years. But those guys on the court are not quite the same when it’s a lot of new guys. But, still, it’s a team I’m familiar with. It was a little weird. It’s the first time I’ve ever done something like that. So, it’s out of the way. Move on.”
Since getting Griffin on Jan. 29, the Pistons had won all four games he had played in and five straight overall. Their streak came to an end against a Clippers team that has won all three games with Harris, who had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Bradley, who had 10 points and eight rebounds, in the lineup. Lou Williams led the way with a game-high 26 points.
Afterward, Griffin mostly tried to downplay the game.
“We didn’t obviously play the way we wanted to,” Griffin said. “I didn’t play the way I wanted to. But that’s the NBA. We had a good five-game run and we get back to work tomorrow. We’ve got three more games left before the break. Try to finish out strong.”
Griffin and Bradley got into a little shoving match as they were trying to get position beneath the basket, earning both a technical foul in the first quarter.
“There’s a chance it’ll get chippy against any team I play against,” Griffin said. “It wasn’t anything out of the normal. I thought we fought at times and we didn’t come up with the plays and they did, to their credit.”
Griffin had a big moment late in the third quarter when he leaped and blocked a dunk attempt by Montrezl Harrell. Griffin then retrieved the ball and threw it off Harrell, giving the ball to the Pistons. Griffin posed and roared at the crowd, which showed its appreciation with a loud ovation.
“Blake is always aggressive like that,” Jordan said. “He’s going to play that way. I don’t think it was just because of this game. Obviously we got history and there’s always going to be a story. But he always plays with that aggression and hard like that. We didn’t expect nothing less.”
The Clippers (28-25) have moved from out of the Western Conference playoff picture all the way to the seventh position after losses by New Orleans and Denver.
“It’s like seeing your ex-girlfriend for the first time with a new man and you got a new girl,” Harris said. “Of course we want to win. That was the biggest thing. A lot was put into the trade, this game, so wanted to come out here and handle our business.”
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner