Pistons' Griffin faces former team in matchup with Clippers
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Blake Griffin re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers last July with the understanding that he'd be a 'Clipper for life.' His tenure with the Clippers after inking the five-year, $171 million contract lasted just over half a season.
Griffin was blindsided when he was dealt to the Detroit Pistons late last month, claiming he found out about the trade on Twitter.
He'll get a chance to exact a little revenge on Friday night when the Clippers play at Little Caesars Arena.
Griffin has already had a major impact on his new team. The Pistons carry a five-game winning streak into the game, the last four with the five-time All-Star power forward in their lineup. He supplied 11 points and two assists during the fourth quarter of a 115-106 victory over Brooklyn on Wednesday.
After finishing with a team-high 25 points, Griffin is averaging 21.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists since joining Detroit.
"He's done some good things since he's been here in the four games, but that was his best offense for us," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He just took over in the last four minutes of the game."
The Pistons (27-26) lost eight straight before their current streak. A big issue was the lack of a go-to player without point guard Reggie Jackson, who is out until after the All-Star break with a severe ankle sprain. Griffin has changed that.
"He's that type of caliber player, he makes the game easy," swingman Reggie Bullock said. "He can pretty much bully his way through anybody. We give him the ball in the right positions, and he makes the right plays."
Detroit remained active on the market before Thursday afternoon's trade deadline. It dealt the two other players acquired from the Clippers, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson, in separate moves.
The Pistons acquired veteran point guard Jameer Nelson from Chicago and forward James Ennis from Memphis to fortify their bench.
The Clippers (27-25), who have won two straight, didn't make any moves on Thursday despite rumors involving center DeAndre Jordan and guard Avery Bradley.
The game in Detroit begins a four-game road trip.
"I actually think it's good we're going on the road," coach Doc Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. "We'll find out a lot about ourselves. It gives us a chance to kind of grow together, bond together. And we have three days to prepare for it. So I think that's all good for us."
Tobias Harris, the top player the Clippers received from the Pistons, has averaged 21.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in his first two games with them. Bradley has posted averages of 10.0 points and 3.0 assists.
This will be the team's first game since it signed guard Lou Williams to a three-year, $24 million contract extension.
"It was nice for this organization to commit to me the same way I've committed to these guys this year," Williams told the Times. "In years past, these scenarios don't usually go my way. So it was nice for one to go my way and be somewhere I wanted to be."
Updated February 9, 2018