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Blake Griffin gets revenge against the Clippers, but swears he didn’t snub Steve Ballmer

XVZKNUAWYAI6TK3ZGDGU66JG6I - Blake Griffin gets revenge against the Clippers, but swears he didn’t snub Steve Ballmer
Detroit Pistons ahead Blake Griffin poured in 44 issues towards the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. (Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports activities)

LOS ANGELES — In a long-anticipated revenge recreation towards his former workforce, Blake Griffin punished the Los Angeles Clippers in each and every possible method Saturday: draining threes, throwing down hammer dunks, hitting the deck for free balls and welcoming chippy altercations. However he swore the one message he despatched got here all over the sport, no longer previously.

The Detroit Pistons’ five-time all-star energy ahead — who has instructed newshounds he’s had no touch with the Clippers’ entrance place of work since they unexpectedly traded him a 12 months in the past this month — went house with a game-high 44 issues and a 109-104 highway win. Later on, Griffin used to be adamant viral video which seemed to display him ignoring an tried handshake from Clippers proprietor Steve Ballmer used to be no longer an intentional snubbing of his former boss.

“For 9 years now, once I’m carried out with my pregame taking pictures, I make sure that there’s a trail and I take off working to the locker room,” Griffin mentioned “I don’t forestall working. Numerous you may have noticed me do this prior to. I don’t alternate that for anyone. To tweet out one thing like that, I believed used to be roughly bull—-. That’s what it used to be. Simple and easy. It wasn’t anything else deliberate. Each and every unmarried recreation I’ve carried out this for a way lengthy.”

Even so, Griffin’s ongoing frustration at being blindsided through the blockbuster — after spending his first 8 NBA seasons in L.A. — used to be obtrusive. Requested immediately about Clippers Trainer Document Rivers, Griffin mentioned handiest: “He’s no longer my trainer anymore.”

Would he shake fingers with Ballmer, the excitable former Microsoft CEO and the Clippers proprietor since 2014, if given a do-over?

“I’m truthfully no longer right here to respond to hypothetical questions,” Griffin mentioned flatly.

The Clippers did their section to make great, welcoming again Griffin with a longer tribute video. The Staples Heart crowd greeted him with a status ovation and his spotlight performs drew scattered cheers all evening.

However, L.A. used to be at the mistaken finish of the whole Griffin revel in all afternoon. He began sizzling, scoring 15 issues within the first quarter en path to turning into the primary Pistons participant since Jerry Stackhouse in 2001 to tally a couple of 40-point video games in the similar season. Preventing thru common double-teams, Griffin added 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block. He shot 13-23 from the sphere, drilled 5 three-pointers, bulldozed his method to 14 unfastened throw makes an attempt and looked as if it would enjoyment of some heated chest-to-chest conversations with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.

On the buzzer, Griffin and Beverley were given into one ultimate dialogue prior to each groups headed their separate techniques. Griffin bounded into the Pistons’ locker room, meting out high-fives to each and every workforce staffer. Later, celebratory whoops may well be heard from throughout the locker room.

“I believed it intended so much to Blake,” mentioned Pistons Trainer Dwane Casey, who praised Griffin as a culture-changer for a Clippers franchise that decided on him first total within the 2009 draft. “An important factor used to be his teammates have been excited for him.”

Each the Clippers and Pistons have reason why to be proud of the Griffin industry, which despatched Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and Boban Marjanovic from Detroit to L.A. The Pistons, who’re within the combine for simply their 2d postseason look within the final decade, landed their maximum marketable superstar in years. Griffin is averaging 24.1 issues, eight.three rebounds and five.three assists and is on course for his first all-star look since 2015.

“We’re happy we were given him,” Casey mentioned of Griffin. “He’s the basis of our program going ahead. He confirmed this night how he’s enjoying at an all-pro — no longer all-star — all-pro stage.”

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Detroit Pistons ahead Blake Griffin waves to the Staples Heart crowd in his first recreation again in Los Angeles towards his former workforce, the Clippers. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

L.A., in the meantime, stays within the West’s hotly-contested playoff image and Harris is an all-star candidate. Ballmer and his entrance place of work even have goals of touchdown a couple of stars in 2019 unfastened company after ditching the general 4 years of Griffin’s five-year, $171 million contract.

Griffin’s lingering resentment over the mechanics of the industry is infrequently unexpected. L.A. had courted him all over the summer time of 2017 with a “Clipper for Existence” pitch and a ridicule jersey retirement. Simply seven months later, he used to be shipped off to Detroit with little advance caution. On Saturday, he stated the Clippers’ olive department and sounded in a position to transport previous the back-and-forth drama.

“It used to be cool, guy, in reality cool,” Griffin mentioned of the tribute video. “To be welcomed again like that, it way so much. I respect most of these fanatics right here. The following time you return right here, [the attention and hype] gained’t be the similar, clearly. It’s great to get the sport over with.”

Learn extra at the NBA:

LeBron James’s damage may just result in nightmare state of affairs for NBA’s damaged playoff structure

Jimmy Butler forces the 76ers to have a look at the replicate. Will they prefer what they see?

New Wizard Sam Dekker, satisfaction of Sheboygan, Wis., wears his state like a badge of honor

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