Ex-Clippers F Griffin scores 44 in Pistons' win

Blake Griffin Steve Ballmer

Blake Griffin Steve Ballmer

Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin denied snubbing Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer's pregame handshake.

Griffin was drafted No. 1 overall by the Clippers in 2009 and spent his first eight seasons with them, helping the team reach the playoffs in six straight years from 2012-17. Griffin later said the trade "stunned" him, and at his introductory press conference in Detroit said, "I want to play for an organization that wants me to play there and clearly this was an organization that wanted me to play here".

Detroit centre Andre Drummond added 20 points and 21 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Reggie Bullock, another former first-round pick of the Clippers, scored 17 points for the Pistons, who had lost nine of 11. Harris finished with 11 points, 10 below his scoring average, and 10 rebounds.

The Pistons held onto their double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter, only to see LA's bench come alive down the stretch, led by their one-two punch of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.

The Clippers tied the game up at 97 on a 3-pointer from Williams. The Pistons play the Clippers again February 2.

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Griffin did acknowledge the Staples Center crowd following a tribute video streamed on the arena's jumbotron during an early first-quarter timeout.

It was the first time Griffin faced off against the Clippers since he was traded to the Pistons.

The Clippers went on a run themselves but ultimately came up short - a steal from Bruce Brown with 21.2 second remaining followed by a pair of free throws sealed the deal for the Pistons.

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