The Celtics continued their recent dominance of the Nets (eight straight victories dating back to last season) with a win Sunday night at Barclays Center, where Blake Griffin inexplicably received a tribute video, bizarrely recounting his brief and mostly forgettable tenure with Brooklyn.
A scarcely-used reserve playing on his fourth team since 2018, Griffin was a nonfactor with the Nets, averaging a pedestrian 7.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 82 listless appearances including 34 starts. He did, however, absorb a league-high 26 charges last season, sacrificing his body while serving as veteran depth for a team that badly needed it.
Once a pillar of strength and athleticism, Griffin is largely floor-bound these days, making the most of his limited minutes (12.5 per game) by playing stout defense and setting screens for Boston’s younger playmakers including MVP candidate and reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Month Jayson Tatum. Needless to say, the crafty 33-year-old is a long way off from his Clippers prime, bearing little resemblance to the high-flyer who famously soared over a Kia to win the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend.
Teams used to be more judicious with their tribute videos, typically reserving the honor for future Hall-of-Famers or players who changed the course of franchise history. Griffin is neither, though his HOF chances are probably better than you might think, considering how lax Springfield has gotten in its voting criteria. Regardless, Griffin deserves a jumbotron tribute about as much as the hot dog vendor in the Barclays concourse.
As has often been the case, Griffin never left the bench Sunday, watching with his warmups on as Boston cruised to a 102-93 victory, taking advantage of 63 combined points from Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Owners of the NBA’s best record at 19-5, the Celtics have only lost twice in regulation this season, with Chicago responsible for both defeats.