Grif­fin scores 44 points in emo­tional LA re­turn

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Blake Grif­fin made an tur­bu­lent re­turn to the Sta­ples Cen­ter, scor­ing 44 points as the Detroit Pis­tons top­pled the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers 109-104 on Satur­day.

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.

Grif­fin av­er­aged 21.6 points, 9.3 re­bounds and 4.2 as­sists in eight 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 nine 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. - AFP

- AFP photo

Blake Grif­fin #23 of the Detroit Pis­tons shoots the ball against the LA Clip­pers on Jan­uary 12, 2019 at STA­PLES Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia.

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