There are so many words that come to mind when you see Blake Griffin. Most of them are good words but because of how his career has shifted the past couple of years, the word “disappointment” may come up a bit. Yet, after tonight’s game, in his old stomping grounds, the 29-year old still has a chance to be a big name in this league.
It almost seemed purposeful that Blake Griffin did not play the Sacramento Kings, Thursday night as the Detroit Pistons are just one game out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. It seemed this game in particular deserved an extra day of “rest” and preparation, to get the best performance possible.
In his first game back in Staples Center against his old team, the Los Angeles Clippers, Blake Griffin arrived early to the arena to get up shots. It has been widely reported that Blake had a very standoffish attitude all throughout shootaround, towards the fans, old teammates and even his old boss and Clippers owner Steve Balmer. Footage has shown Steve Balmer actually walked over to the Pistons side of the court during shootaround and Blake Griffin immediately ran into the locker room, not even acknowledging Balmer’s presence.
Nonetheless, Griffin put on an absolute show scoring 44 points, shooting 56% percent from the field, 13-14 from the free throw line, and also adding 8 rebounds and 5 assists. The Pistons scraped up the win after some clutch shots and some great defense by Griffin, Drummond, and Reggie Bullock.
At the final buzzard Patrick Beverly and Griffin exchanged words. Beverly who has a reputation of backing down from no one and Griffin who clearly was seeing red all night had to be separated by game officials and teammates.
What could have been? That’s what comes to mind when you think about Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. Looking back at those classic highlights, the memorable playoff series with the Warriors before they became the powerhouse that they are now, even the State Farm commercials with then teammate Chris Paul, Blake Griffin was arguably just as marketable as Lebron James. However, for a multitude of reasons it just didn’t work out that way.
Griffin who averages 25 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, still has a bright future ahead of him. The Clippers have clearly moved on as they have aspirations of signing a big name this summer such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or even Anthony Davis. What a difference a year makes in the NBA.