Several reports surfaced in the wake of Detroit’s blowout loss to the Bucks last weekend that star forward Blake Griffin would miss the entire Eastern Conference 1st Round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey gave a glimmer of hope Wednesday, talking to James Edwards of The Athletic about Griffin’s return timeline. “Hopefully it’s tonight,” Casey is quoted as saying in Edwards’ tweet.
Apparently, Griffin has been itching to hit the floor to give Detroit a chance against the East’s No. 1 seed. He is still listed as questionable for Game Two Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
“He’s been pestering everybody. I can’t wait to get him out there — hopefully it’s tonight. We’ll find out,” Casey said, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News.
Griffin battled through a leg brace on his left knee during Monday’s team shootaround. He has been listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for the past few weeks. After missing 3 games, he returned for 3 games to help Detroit’s push for the No. 8 seed. His official diagnosis is “left knee soreness.”
NBA.com provided more details from Casey’s press conference.
He has been lobbying to play, but that decision will be up to the team’s medical staff, Casey said Monday.
In Sunday’s Game 1, Griffin was parked on the bench as the Pistons were routed 121-86. After that game, Griffin said his frustration level is “10 out of 10” and pain isn’t the only problem keeping out of the Pistons’ lineup.
“I don’t have a great answer to that. It’s a complicated answer. If it was pain, I would easily play with pain. It’s a complication situation,” Griffin said, per The Detroit News. “If it was just my decision, I would have played.”
Without Griffin, the Pistons suffered an embarrassing 121-86 loss in Game 1 last night. Luke Kennard led the Pistons with 21 points off the bench, making 4 of 5 3-pointers but the rest of the team didn’t show up. Andre Drummond had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Reggie Jackson added 12 points and five assists but no one else scored in double figures.
In addition, Drummond was ejected for shoving Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He will continue to get frustrated if he doesn’t get any help on the interior.
Griffin averaged a career-high 24.5 points, along with 7.5 rebounds and a team-best 5.4 assists on 46.2 percent shooting and 36.2 percent from 3-point range in 35.0 minutes over 75 games this season, his most since 2013-14. He hasn’t played at least 80 regular season games since then.
He also led the Pistons with a 4.6 BPM (Box Plus/Minus) and a 4.4 VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). When Griffin’s was on the floor, the Pistons just played at a higher level, especially on offense.
Griffin’s presence will almost surely not be enough to get the Pistons over the hump in this series, but his presence may be enough to grab at least a win. That would be the first for Detroit in the postseason since 2008.
Is that worth forcing Griffin back? If he wants to play, Casey surely won’t say no.