Friday’s game between the Nets and Pistons held a little extra significance for Blake Griffin, who was playing against his former team for the first time since joining Brooklyn. Griffin, who spent parts of four seasons with Detroit, was bought out by the Pistons earlier this month before giving the already star-laden Nets an extra jolt of starpower.
It went about as well as Griffin could have hoped for: The Nets’ 113-111 win at Little Caesars Arena featured a healthy dose of Griffin at his age-32 best.
After the game, though, he had to contend with some shenanigans.
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Griffin Can’t Find the Camera
Griffin had 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go with three rebounds in 20 minutes, his most in three games since joining the Nets. He even had an alley-oop dunk off an assist from James Harden that was reminiscent of his Lob City days while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers earlier in his career.
A vintage Griffin performance earned him a postgame interview with YES Network’s Michael Grady immediately after the game. The only problem? Figuring out where the camera was.
Griffin began the interview facing left from his perspective.
“Blake, if you can turn to your right, we’ve got a camera on your right,” said Grady, who took to Twitter to dub Friday’s game the “Blake Griffin Return” game.
Griffin did exactly that, and, for a moment, was facing the right direction.
“And just — right there, right there!” Grady said, to no avail.
Griffin mistakenly turned back to the direction he was originally facing.
“We almost had you,” Grady said with a laugh.
Griffin began pointing toward a couple of cameras in the wrong direction — “To your right a little bit more,” Grady said — before his headset popped off slightly.
All Griffin could do was laugh.
“I don’t know where it is,” Griffin said. “There’s a lot of cameras.”
Pro that he is, Griffin plowed ahead with the interview, albeit facing the wrong direction. Eventually, about a minute into the interview, YES Network switched to a camera angle that featured Griffin facing forward. That’s when Grady asked him about facing his former team.
“I’ve got a lot of love for the players over there,” Griffin said. “They play hard. We knew it was going to be a dogfight. So, proud of them, but proud of our guys for coming in here and getting the win.”
Chippiness in Detroit
“Dogfight” was certainly an appropriate word choice by Griffin. The six-time All-Star and former No. 1 overall pick took an elbow to the face, after all.
Early in the second quarter, Griffin made some incidental contact with Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart as they fought for a rebound. Stewart then made some contact that was clearly more intentional. The Pistons forward was tossed shortly thereafter afer a brief review by the refs.
“They’re a hard-playing team,” Griffin said. “I don’t know if you expect to get elbowed, but I knew it was going to be chippy. They were going to play hard. But that stuff doesn’t bother me. It’s part of the game.”
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Griffin Slowly Meshing
Ahead of Griffin’s Nets debut on Sunday, Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said, “We’ll definitely be cautious as to not overextend him,” according to SNY.
So it’s been no surprise to see the 6-foot-9 forward eased gradually into action. He played about 15 minutes in his Nets debut, then about 19 against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday before playing about 20 on Friday. He sat out Wednesday’s loss to the Utah Jazz.
“Every game it gets a little bit better,” Griffin said about meshing with his new teammates on the court, via YES Network. “With the schedule being the way it is, we don’t really get a chance to practice. My first game I was kind of out there not having really practiced. So every single game, every single walkthrough we go through, helps me feel more comfortable with the offense, with the guys. So hopefully I can continue that.”