You could tell from the opening tip that Blake Griffin was not going to be denied a win against his former team. He couldn’t do it alone and the rest of the team was ready to step up and help him out. His teammates hit shots and the Pistons won 109-104.
The Clippers gave Griffin a warm welcome back during player introductions and had a fantastic tribute video for him during the first timeout.
The Pistons sprinted out to a hot start shooting the ball, as they have done a lot over the last few weeks. They were up 37-24 after the 1st quarter, but it was time for Jose Calderon and the bench to start the 2nd quarter.
The bench was not great, but they didn’t completely blow the lead and the starters were able to steady the ship and get the lead up to 11 at halftime.
The Clippers kept attempting to make a run in the 3rd quarter, but Blake Griffin always had an answer. Whether it was a timely defensive play or a bullying back-down in the post, you could tell that he wanted to win at all costs.
It looked like the Clippers might end up stealing this one in the 4th as they briefly took a lead late in the game, but Blake Griffin, commanding all the attention of the defense, had three straight assists that led to eight Pistons points and Detroit was able to take retake control of the game.
The Clippers were within 3, 107-104 with 33 seconds left in the game, but Bruce Brown came up huge by picking Lou Williams’ pocket and went down and hit the free throws to seal the game. It might have been a foul on the Pistons rookie, but Lou Williams also did all that he could to try and sell it.
The story of the game is obviously Blake Griffin, he once again willed this disappointing roster to victory with 44 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Reggie Bullock had 17 points and was 5-of-10 from beyond the are. He also hit two clutch threes in the 4th quarter when it looked like the Clippers might steal this one. Andre Drummond had his 7th 20-20 game of the season with 20 points and 21 rebounds. His offensive rebounding was huge in the 4th as the Pistons offense sputtered down the stretch.
Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams killed the Pistons off the bench with 21 points and 22 points, respectively. Danilo Gallinari had 23 points, and was the only Clippers starter who did anything.
This was a much-needed win for the Pistons because they did it for Blake. Regardless of your opinion on the team tanking, this was a good win against a good team that the Pistons needed. The Pistons will take on the Jazz on Monday to conclude their Western Conference road trip and will likely have Ish Smith back.