LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 44 points in his return to Staples Center for the first time against his old team and the Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-104 on Saturday to snap a four-game skid.
Griffin was greeted with cheers during pregame introductions and received a standing ovation after a first-quarter video tribute from the team that drafted him first overall in 2009.
He stuck his right arm in the air and then brought his raised hands together in a thankful gesture without smiling. He clearly wanted to beat the team that stunningly traded him last January after he had signed a $171 million, five-year extension.
Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin waves to fans during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Griffin scored 15 points in the opening quarter when he got razzed by superfan Clipper Darrell during free throw attempts. He had 26 points in the first half to help Detroit to a 65-54 lead.
His 3-pointer to start the third and a basket by Andre Drummond pushed Detroit to a 16-point lead. Griffin had a one-hand slam reminiscent of his old Lob City days.
Andre Drummond had 20 points and 21 rebounds for the Pistons.
Danilo Gallinari led the Clippers with 23 points.