Blake Griffin missed Game 1 against the Bucks, and the Pistons may be without their best player for the entirety of their playoff run.
The Detroit Pistons squeezed into the playoffs with a win in their regular season finale, and the task to take down the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks is daunting at the best of times. But Blake Griffin missed time at the end of the regular season, and Sunday night’s playoff opener, with a lingering left knee issue.
The news has now gotten a bit worse. According to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports, Griffin is likely to miss the entire first round series against Milwaukee. He will be listed as day-to-day, but Goodwill added a “slim chance” Griffin plays this coming weekend, which means he’ll miss at least three games with Game 2 Wednesday night and Game 3 Saturday night.
Griffin had the best season of his career this year, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game as the driving force for the Pistons’ success. His absence was notable Sunday night, as Detroit lost by 35 (121-86). Thon Maker (four points, four rebounds and four fouls over 22 minutes) started in Griffin’s place.
Griffin is under contract through 2021-22, with a history of knee issues, so the Pistons are rightfully concerned about preserving his long-term health. The 75 games he played this season were the most he’d played since the 2013-14 campaign.
If Detroit is down 0-3 to Milwaukee when Griffin can theoretically play, and based on Sunday night without him it looks like they will be, holding him out of Game 4 would be obvious even as a sign of surrender.
The Pistons once looked like a team worth betting on to deliver a playoff upset, before a late downturn as Griffin missed some time. Now it looks sure to be a very short playoff run with, or increasingly likely without, Griffin for however long the series lasts against the Bucks.