Blake Griffin scored 19 points in his first game against his old team Friday night, but the Los Angeles Clippers used a fourth-quarter flurry to overtake the Detroit Pistons 108-95 in Detroit in a duel of two teams involved in a big trade two weeks ago.
The Pistons lost in the finale of what had been an unbeaten six-game homestand despite the all-around effort of Griffin, who was playing his fifth game for Detroit after having been acquired in a six-player deal involving Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley and a first-round draft pick.
Harris had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Bradley 10 points and eight rebounds in their first games against the Pistons since the swap.
The win was the Clippers’ third straight since Harris and Bradley joined the club three games ago.
The reunion between Griffin and the team for which he played his first 7 1/2 seasons wasn’t all hugs and kisses. The four-time All-Star scuffled with Bradley just 6:15 into the contest, a run-in that drew each a technical foul.
Detroit led 80-77 entering the final period, but had only one field goal in the first 6:38 of the quarter, during which the Clippers used a 15-5 run to go up 92-85. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams combined for 11 of Los Angeles’ 15 points in the burst.
After Andre Drummond cut the gap to five with a layup, the Clippers immediately countered with a layup by Austin Rivers and a 3-pointer by Williams, opening a 96-87 advantage they were able to massage to the finish.
Rivers was playing for the first time since Dec. 29 as he recovered from a strained right Achilles. He had 16 points in 32 minutes in his return to action.
Williams led all scorers with 26 points and Harrell added 18 to lead the Clippers, who were playing the opener of a seven-game trip.
Danilo Gallinari was a sixth Clipper in double figures with 16 points, while DeAndre Jordan complemented four points with 17 rebounds.
Griffin had eight rebounds and six assists to go with his 19 points. He had averaged 21.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in his first four games for Detroit.
Reggie Bullock also had 19 points for the Pistons, while Ish Smith had 15.
Drummond matched Jordan’s 17 rebounds to go with 12 points for Detroit, which had averaged 113.2 points in its five-game winning streak.
Neither team led by more than eight points in a tightly contested first three quarters.
—Field Level Media