Blake Griffin back to dunking ways in Brooklyn Nets' debut

ByMalika Andrews ESPN logo
Monday, March 22, 2021

Blake Griffindunked for the first time in more than a year in hisBrooklyn Netsdebut on Sunday, a 113-106 win over theWashington Wizards.

Griffin checked in off the bench at the 4:37 mark in the first quarter and scored his first points as a Net on a dunk to start the fourth quarter.

The six-time All-Star had gone 25 straight games without a dunk, with his last jam coming on Dec. 12, 2019.

"I knew once it happened it was going to be a thing so I tried not to look down at the bench," Griffin said of his dunk. "But then I kinda peeked over and saw DeAndre[Jordan]all the way out on the side and I saw everybody stand up, so it was hard not to smile in that situation. It felt good to just get that out of the way and move on.''

Griffin said before the game that he would be on a minutes restriction. He finished with two points, two rebounds and a block in 15 minutes.

Griffin last played on Feb. 12 against the Boston Celtics when he was still a member of the Detroit Pistons. After agreeing to a buyout with Detroit and signing with Brooklyn, Griffin met with the Nets' training staff and devised a return-to-play plan that would get him back into game shape.

"It was great to be back out there,'' Griffin said. "I felt like it was a good start, but I've got some room to improve obviously.''

Griffin said that he felt that he could've played more minutes in Sunday's game, but deferred to the training staff on exactly how long he might play Tuesday against Portland. Ultimately, Griffin said the goal is for him to be able to play for extended periods, without any restrictions, in a Nets' playoff run.

While he was listed as out for left-knee-injury maintenance, Griffin has been adamant that he was never hurt. On Sunday morning, Griffin said that the Nets' training staff took a full-body approach to his increased workload and didn't just focus on his knee.

Griffin traveled with the Nets on their latest road trip to Indiana and worked out with the Nets' training staff and Kevin Durant, who has missed the Nets' past 13 games with a hamstring strain. Brooklyn has played a total of four games without Griffin since he signed with the franchise.

Griffin, 32, played in 20 games for Detroit this season and averaged 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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