Blake Griffin eyed the basketball bouncing off rim, his path to the basket clear so he could take flight to flush home a two-handed follow dunk seconds before the first half was completed.
The right knee that had inhibited Griffin to force surgery on Dec. 20 now appeared more than sound enough for the power forward to move without any restrictions during the Clippers’ loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
Griffin missed the previous 18 games.
In his first game since Dec. 18 at the Washington Wizards and while playing in a limited-minutes basis, Griffin had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes, 28 seconds.
But he did have those annoying six turnovers.
“I was sloppy, rusty,” Griffin said. “I felt like I had some really stupid turnovers. I probably would’ve liked to attack more, especially late in the shot clock. A couple times I settled for jumpers. But I felt fine. Timing and rhythm for sure was the biggest thing.”
Griffin, who was three for 11 from the field, explained why he doesn’t expect any soreness going forward.
“I honestly have had workouts that are twice as hard as this,” Griffin said. “As far as body-wise, pounding on my buddy, I’m lifting, then doing basketball, then doing treadmill and court conditioning all in a day, it’s more than just this. I don’t expect to feel anything. [Watch for] soreness, swelling and all that, but I haven’t had a problem yet.”
Doc Rivers misses game
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was too ill to coach Tuesday night against the 76ers, so he went back to the team hotel before the game to recover.
Rivers arrived at the game before it started, but left several minutes later.
It was the first game Rivers has missed since Nov. 4, 2007, when he was with the Boston Celtics. He has been ejected from three games this season.
Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson took over the duties for Rivers.
“It was definitely strange,” DeAndre Jordan said. “We’ve played without Doc a couple of games when he got kicked out. But for a whole game, that was…I missed his raspy voice, but Woody did a job tonight, so it was cool.”