Blake Griffin is playing his former team on Saturday, with a little extra edge to show his indifference toward (or outright dislike of) the Clippers.
Blake Griffin made his return to Staples Center with the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, against the Los Angeles Lakers. But the more notable return to Los Angeles was Saturday, of course against his former team the Los Angeles Clippers. In preparation, he didn’t play the second leg of a back-to-back Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings for rest purposes.
During pre-game warmups Saturday afternoon, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was on the floor as the Pistons were getting their work in. As Griffin started to walk off the floor Ballmer extend his hand for a handshake, at which point Griffin picked up speed and sprinted to the locker room.
It’s possible Griffin just didn’t see Ballmer out of the corner of his eye, somehow. Or maybe Griffin was trying to stay focused, and fraternizing with his former boss at all didn’t fit that plan. Regardless, even a passing acknowledgement of Ballmer short of a handshake was of no interest to Griffin.
This clip shows more of Ballmer’s reaction.
Griffin got a nice ovation from the home fans during pre-game introductions though, and he later acknowledged the crowd warmly.
On the floor, Griffin has taken no mercy on the Clippers. His first points of the game came on a three-pointer, on his way to 15 first quarter points. He had 26 points at halftime, with three makes from beyond the arc, and he had 35 points on 10 of 16 from the floor (4-for-9 from 3-point range, 11-for-12 from the line) as the Pistons led 90-80 lead after three quarters.
Griffin has been aggressive from the start on Saturday, with a presumed green light from Pistons’ coach Dwane Casey to show the Clippers what they’re missing. A look at the standings would show they’re doing just fine without him, but a good revenge narrative can’t be ignored.