The Brooklyn Nets took a 2-0 series lead on Milwaukee with a 39-point annihilation of the Bucks in Game 2 on Monday night, as they took a big early lead and never let go. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were terrific as usual, but it’s the continued spectacular play of the Nets role players that has them in firm control of this series even with James Harden sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Chief among those is Blake Griffin, who famously joined the Nets on a minimum deal after taking a buyout from Detroit. With the Pistons, Griffin’s knee injury had seemingly sapped the athleticism that had made him a phenom early in his career, as he never returned to the dominant form from 2019 when he almost single-handedly dragged the Pistons to the playoffs — where they got blasted by Milwaukee. This time around, Griffin gets to be a complementary piece rather than a focal point and he’s shining. After a big Game 1, Griffin was a bit more quiet in Game 2 offensively in terms of output, with seven points and eight rebounds, but he continues to stump Giannis defensively and two of his buckets were quite loud.
Blake has turned back the clock since joining the Nets, and threw down a pair of vintage dunks in Game 2, one on a putback and one on a baseline cut to throw it down on Giannis.
So Blake can still fly…
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021
Blake dunks on Giannis’ head @NBA | @blakegriffin23pic.twitter.com/J0fRJwUiUc
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) June 8, 2021
The TNT broadcast even pulled up the stats for Blake’s season in which he had no dunks in his 20 games with the Pistons, but has 25 in 33 games played with the Nets.
Throughout the regular season while he’s been with the Nets fans have wondered aloud if Griffin was tanking during the first half of the season in order to secure the buyout from Detroit, but with the way he’s playing in this series against Milwaukee, fans are having a ton of fun with the idea that he was sandbagging to get himself to a contender.
Blake Griffin on the Nets pic.twitter.com/5k742kVETl
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) June 8, 2021
Pistons Blake vs Nets Blake pic.twitter.com/CTeMjg1Xlz
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin leaving Detroit pic.twitter.com/m0Dkj4Kcbg
— I Think You Should League Pass (@nbaleave) June 8, 2021
LeBron in Bronny’s layup lines like pic.twitter.com/bkXEpOEVms
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) August 1, 2019
Pistons fans watching Blake Griffin dunk pic.twitter.com/wYRNLcmTW8
— Trae Young Hive Captain (@Kofie) June 7, 2021
Blake griffin after he left the pistons pic.twitter.com/77tgXavYJy
— Karlito (@K93er) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin moving from the pistons to the nets pic.twitter.com/JludPJUbaI
— Clive (@clvrndsz) June 8, 2021
*blake griffin has bad knees *joins super team Nets Blake: pic.twitter.com/prWa3P3PHd
— Andrei Kiprosov (@AndreiKiprosov) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin after signing with the Nets pic.twitter.com/IWhOQ96NP5
— LeMickey (@LemickeyMemes) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin when he learned he was on his way to the Nets. pic.twitter.com/1RJxSDKwfb
— Judge William A. Snoddy (@Judge_Snoddy) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin rollin in like…. pic.twitter.com/atGirlb3FC
— Extra Points (@ExtraPointsPod) June 8, 2021
Blake griffin in Brooklyn https://t.co/XZvznj4pEn pic.twitter.com/SKErjHs4u9
— Silvio (@ReadyPlayer1___) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin when he got bought out by Detroit and got signed by Brooklyn:pic.twitter.com/gd3alqOvxo
— RAD (@radvstheworld) June 8, 2021
Everyone looking at Blake Griffin pic.twitter.com/DwEGY7oLJj
— Jamar Lackson (@Crappycortez99) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin rn pic.twitter.com/OU3jObJpsO
— kel (@thesauced) June 8, 2021
Blake Griffin..and no one can say otherwise pic.twitter.com/C7CR7HRPd1
— HellJay (@HellaJay2) June 8, 2021
The reality is that Griffin is in a position where he’s being asked not to create looks for himself off the dribble but just catch-and-shoot or catching lobs or pocket passes as a roller and cutter. He certainly seems bouncier and more energized playing in Brooklyn and it’s hard to blame him for that, but it’s not a shocker that he’s still capable of dunking.
Now that he’s capable of still flying the way he did on the putback is something we had to wonder about, but with a clean runway it’s clear he can still soar — even if that stings a bit for Pistons fans to watch.