Nets’ Blake Griffin starting to hit stride after early struggles

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Struggling Blake Griffin had his champion show of the play Friday successful Detroit. Maybe helium conscionable needed a feisty, bluish collar nighttime against his erstwhile team, the Pistons, to break his funk. 

Make that a hardhat, steel-tip night. 

“We emotion that Blake brings it and gives america that physicality. He’s besides a precise intelligent player, truthful he’s taking charges, warring connected the solid and understands our concepts defensively,” said caput manager Steve Nash, whose Nets sojourn Toronto connected Sunday. “He’s idiosyncratic that we’ve travel to trust connected and number on.” 

Griffin had 13 points, 5 boards and 1 fiery bust-up with Isaiah Stewart with 2:57 to play. Oh, and helium made 2 immense plays successful the last minute: First, helium stepped up to instrumentality his 2nd complaint of the night, past helium made a tip-out that led to Kevin Durant’s game-clinching bucket with 13 seconds left. 

“That tip-out and that complaint truly won the crippled for us,” Durant said. 

Blake Griffin gets successful  a scuffle with the Pistons' Isaiah Stewart during the Nets' 96-90 triumph   Friday night.Blake Griffin gets successful a scuffle with the Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart during the Nets’ 96-90 triumph Friday night. USA TODAY Sports

The Nets celebrated Griffin connected the seat with what has go a moving gag betwixt him and Joe Harris: Hard hats, alloy tips. And aft the last buzzer, a grinning Griffin ran down the passageway mimicking putting connected a hard chapeau and those imaginary enactment boots. 

“That started with maine and Joe past season. I don’t adjacent cognize why. We some took a complaint successful a crippled … similar immoderate bluish collar boys. So close earlier each game, we’d beryllium like, ‘Hey it’s a alloy toe, hard hat, luncheon pail benignant of game,’ and we’d bash this anserine thing,” Griffin said. “Patty [Mills] came and took immoderate charges and helium submitted his membership. Joe and I person a gathering time to spell implicit it. But we’re good.” 

Griffin entered Friday averaging conscionable 5.1 points connected 27.3 percent from the field, and shooting 4-for-24 from 3-point range. With a back-to-back Sunday successful Toronto and Monday successful Chicago, the Nets are hoping Friday’s crippled bodes good for the struggling large man. 

James Harden astir had a dubious triple-double Friday, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, but 9 turnovers. One was peculiarly egregious, erstwhile Saddiq Bey poked the shot loose, but Harden didn’t pursuit it. That near Bey escaped to spell the different mode for an uncontested dunk. 

“I deliberation astatine that infinitesimal helium was bushed and made a mistake,” Nash said. “He owned up to it. He said helium made a mistake.” 

Harden led the league successful some full turnovers (44) and turnovers per crippled (4.89) entering Saturday. 

An ESPN study elaborate racism and misogyny by Suns proprietor Robert Sarver. Nash spent years arsenic the look of that franchise and said helium was disheartened by the news, but added helium hadn’t personally witnessed that broadside of his erstwhile boss. 

“Yeah, I was saddened to work [that]. That hasn’t been my acquisition with Robert. But I’m evidently precise delicate to each those benignant of situations. It was disappointing,” Nash said. 

Asked if he’d heard of the benignant of racism and sexism from Sarver, helium answered “No.”