As the Detroit Pistons try to get an upset bid off on the right foot, they look likely to be without Blake Griffin for Game 1 against the Bucks.
The Detroit Pistons needed a win in their regular season finale to earn a playoff spot, and they easily dispatched the New York Knicks 115-89 without Blake Griffin. Griffin’s status for the playoffs was naturally a concern, and now the star forward is listed as questionable for Sunday night’s playoff opener against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Griffin missed four of Detroit’s final seven regular-season games with a lingering left knee issue. He particularly didn’t look good in the last two games he played, as he went a combined seven-for-23 from the floor and three-for-13 from beyond the arc, and was clearly hobbled when he played just 18 minutes in the Pistons’ second-to-last regular season contest.
Griffin is the Pistons’ leading scorer (24.5 points per game) and assist man (5.4 per game) this season, while adding 7.5 rebounds per game (second on the team). He also leads the Pistons in three-point attempts per contest (7.0), making over 36 percent along the way, and has a team-leading 7.3 free throw attempts per game. All that stat-sheet filling yielded a team-high usage rate of 30.2 percent. Not surprisingly, Griffin was also in some rare air in ball-dominance among forwards this season.
In the seven regular season games Griffin missed, the Pistons went 2-5. So being without him against the No. 1 seed Bucks is a big step toward a mark in the loss column. But if keeping him out means he’ll be closer to 100 percent for Game 2 and beyond, it might be worth it.
On Saturday, via Keith Langlois of NBA.com, Griffin didn’t seem very optimistic about his Game 1 status.
“We’re taking this day by day,” he said after practice on Saturday and before the Pistons flew to Milwaukee. “I’m not looking forward to a day that’s not here right now in front of me. I’ll sit with our training staff and whoever else needs to be in on that decision and make that each day.”
Prior to Sunday morning’s official declaration, Griffin was being regarded as day-to-day (fire up the Keith Olbermann quote — “Aren’t we all?”). Even now, hours from tip-off of Game 1 in Milwaukee, it’s safe to put him on the “wrong side” of his questionable status.