Griffin scores 44 points in emotional LA return
LOS ANGELES, USA – Blake Griffin made a turbulent return to Staples Center, scoring 44 points as the Detroit Pistons toppled the Los Angeles Clippers, 109-104, on Saturday, January 12 (Sunday, January 13, Manila time).
It was an emotional day for Griffin as he snubbed Clippers owner Steve Ballmer before the game, was greeted with a standing ovation during a first-quarter video tribute, and then had a heated exchange on the floor with former teammate Patrick Beverley as the final horn sounded.
"There was a lot of hype coming into this game and I was looking forward to it, but I'm glad that it's over," said Griffin. "The next time I come it won't be as crazy."
The former first overall draft pick by the Clippers in 2009 was surprisingly traded to Detroit last January after signing a five-year extension worth $171 million.
Blake Griffin today against his former team:— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 12, 2019
Griffin averaged 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 8 seasons in Los Angeles. He won the Rookie of the Year award and was a five-time All-Star with the franchise.
Before the game, Clippers owner Ballmer waited on the sidelines and then extended his hand for a handshake, but Griffin ignored him, sprinting off to the locker room.
After the game, Griffin scolded a reporter for mentioning the snub on social media, saying he was just conducting his pre-game routine.
Asked if he would ever shake Ballmer's hand, Griffin bristled, saying, "I am not here to answer hypothetical questions."
Andre Drummond had 20 points and 21 rebounds and Reggie Bullock finished with 17 for the Pistons, who have lost 9 of their last 12.
"Down the stretch we played great defense, got stops and protected the ball and that was the difference," Griffin said.
Danilo Gallinari led the Clippers with 23 points. Lou Williams added 22 points, and Montrezl Harrell had 21 points and nine rebounds.