Remembering Blake Griffin’s historic stretch with the Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images) /

Blake Griffin’s 2018-2019 campaign with the Detroit Pistons was one of the best we’ve seen in recent memory, and at one point it was historic.

The most recent iteration of Blake Griffin that we can remember was one whose body wasn’t cooperating with his demand for excellence. After his season was cut short when he underwent yet another knee surgery, the Detroit Pistons were without their star.

Fans quickly forgot that just a year prior, he wasn’t just the best player on the team, but one of the best in basketball. His handles were still improving, his perimeter shot had been taken to another level, and overall, Griffin was the sole reason that Detroit was in the playoff hunt.

The 2018-2019 season was one of the better individual performances that we’ve seen from a Piston in recent memory. After receiving an All-Star nod, making the All-NBA Third Team, and willing his team into the playoffs, his value was made clear.

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Fans remember the Milwaukee series. Although the team was swept, Griffin gave every last ounce of energy that he had into the two games that he appeared in. They remember the 50 point game against the Sixers, and they remember the Clippers revenge game.

What people often forget about is that in January of that same season, Griffin broke a franchise record, scoring 445 points inside of a single month. This surpassed the previous record set by Isiah Thomas in March of 1983, when he scored 442 points.

The list of names on this list is quite remarkable. Thomas, Jerry Stackhouse (twice), Bob Lanier, and now Griffin.

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That month he appeared in 15 games and averaged 29.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game on 49.0 percent shooting. His top performance was in the aforementioned “revenge” game on the road against the Clippers, where he poured on 44 points in a win over his former team.

After scoring 30 or more points in 8 of those 15 games, Detroit only found themselves on the winning end 6 times. Injuries were sending the team into a dark place. (it only got worse the following year)

People were beginning to think that Griffin didn’t have much left in the tank. But by the time the season ended, had the Pistons been able to win more games, there’s no doubt that his name would have (at the very least) been considered for MVP.

The injuries that he sustained to close out the year eventually derailed his 2019-2020 campaign. He was a shell of himself, and it was clear that he needed more time to rehabilitate.

By the time the 2020-2021 season rolls around, he’ll have had just about a year to recover, and fans should expect to see a similar version of his former greatness on full display.

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