Blake Griffin gets amped up after stuffing former teammate Montrezl Harrell at the rim
Friday was a night of reunions for familiar faces all around the Association. While Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade made warm returns to the cities where their storied careers began, Blake Griffin welcomed his former teammates to the Motor City with a cold shoulder.
Griffin didn’t take well to the news that he had been traded to the Detroit Pistons when the reported deal emerged on January 29. Playing for the Pistons franchise wasn’t the issue for Griffin. The problem he had was the fact that he caught wind of the trade over twitter without as much as a single word of warning from Clippers staff or management.
The highflying forward had no time for formalities when Los Angeles came to town. Griffin skipped the usual pregame handshakes with his former Clippers’ running mates and got down to business from the first tip.
He came out with a killer instinct and immediately attacked Los Angeles defense, probing the lanes and searching for open teammates. Griffin’s play was impassioned and perhaps he let his heart get the best of his head. He made several full throttle hustle plays, but also took his fair share of ill-advised shots.
Blake Griffin was surely trying to prove something, but on his mission to make a fool of the Clippers he lost sight of the ultimate goal. He exploded off the floor to meet Montrezl Harrell at the rim for the block of the game, but in the end Los Angels had Blake’s number and took the win on the road 108-95.
The Clippers abruptly ended the Pistons’ five-game winning streak and it was Detroit’s fist loss since acquiring the five-time All-Star. Up to that point, Griffin had been playing some of his best basketball of the 2017-18 season and had looked like a flawless fit next to fellow All-Star Andre Drummond.
Detroit sits just one game back of the eight seed in the Eastern Conference and they’ll need more stellar play from their star-studded frontcourt duo if they hope to clinch a playoff spot. The Eastern Conference hasn’t been the easy path to the playoffs like it’s been in years past and the Pistons must take advantage of their close proximity to the playoff picture before their window closes this season.
The Pistons formidable pairing down low will make life easier in Motown, but as we’ve seen in the past, multiple All-Stars don’t always equal regular season success. The postseason is a very different beast and one that Griffin could never conquer, even with the help of stars like Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
Detroit has high hopes for their team in the coming years, but I don’t like their chances with Griffin at the helm. Aside from shutting down in big moments in the playoffs, Griffin has yet to show he can stay healthy for an entire season in over four years.
It was a risky gamble for the Pistons to aggressively pursue a injury plagued star to lead their franchise. If everything pans out and Detroit brings home a title during the Griffin era, I’d be very surprised.
Let’s just say the chances of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy finding a new home in Detroit are about as likely as Isiah Thomas coming out of retirement and taking over for the Pistons at the point. As much as I like Griffin, Thomas and the entire Pistons organization, they’re attempting the impossible and I think they know it too.