NBA

Blake Griffin dunks for first time since 2019 in Nets debut

By Sports Desk March 21, 2021

Blake Griffin showed he can still dunk in the NBA after capping his Brooklyn Nets debut with his first slam since 2019.

Not since December 2019 had Griffin dunked in the league – the six-time All-Star enduring a 25-game drought amid knee problems.

But Griffin ended the wait in his bow for the Nets in Sunday's 113-106 win over the Washington Wizards, scoring his first points on a dunk at the start of the fourth quarter.

"I knew once it happened, I know it would be a thing," Griffin said of his dunk, having finished with two points and two rebounds in 15 minutes as he works his way back to full fitness.

"It felt good to get that out of the way and move on."

Griffin joined James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the star-studded Nets after agreeing a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons earlier in March.

The 32-year-old had last played on February 12 while he was still a member of the Pistons organisation.

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

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    His best season in Charlotte came in 2015-16 when the Hornets went 48-34 and lost in seven games to the Miami Heat in the first round the playoffs. 

    The Hornets initially offered the job to Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, but he later told the team he was backing out due to family reasons. 

    "I think [Atkinsons] would have been a good pick, but if he’s not comfortable here I would rather find out now then a year from now," Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said Thursday night at the NBA Draft.  

    This time, Clifford inherits a team that is more talented than any of his previous Charlotte squads with All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges.  

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    Defense has been the organisation’s priority in seeking a new leader, and Clifford has long been considered one of the NBA’s top defensive coaches. The Hornets finished sixth, 10th, ninth, 17th and 17th in defensive rating during his five seasons. They were 22nd this past season under Borrego, who was fired in April.  

     

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