Blake Griffin is aching to play.
The Detroit Pistons medical staff won’t allow him to do that just yet but he still might be in uniform during their opening-round playoff series.
Following their embarrassing 121-86 loss to the top-seeded Bucks on Sunday night, the Pistons returned to Michigan and practiced on Monday afternoon.
Coach Dwane Casey confirmed what Griffin said shortly after the game.
The All-Star power forward wanted to be on the court but it’s not his call. Griffin is dealing with a sore left knee.
“He worked out today,” Casey said. “He’s lobbying. He wants to play. It’s the medical staff, the doctors are the ones making those decisions. Not me, not Blake.”
A Yahoo! Sports report after Game 1 indicated that Griffin was unlikely to play in the series. Casey remains hopeful that Griffin can get back into the lineup. There’s no structural damage to the knee, nor does there seem to be a fear that he could do long-term damage by playing.
It’s more a case of whether he can effectively play through the soreness.
“The doctors are telling him what his body can do and not do and that’s who’s making the decisions,” Casey said. “We have an excellent medical staff. I’m not qualified to tell him when to play or not to play in these situations. We need all hands on deck. He wants to play. So when his body says he’s ready, whether it’s Wednesday night or Saturday (for Game 3), whenever it is, he’ll be available.”
Still irked by Drummond’s ejection
Casey reiterated that he didn’t feel Andre Drummond should have been ejected during the third quarter for shoving Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Drummond pushed Antetokounmpo to the floor after the Bucks forward swooped in and grabbed an offensive rebound. Drummond was assessed a Flagrant-2 foul, resulting in an automatic disqualification.
More: Blake Griffin critical of Drummond ejection: ‘That was bad’
“I’ve seen worse,” Casey said. “What do you expect our defense to do when you’re driving through there 100 miles an hour? Just move out of the way and let you go where you want to go? I don’t think there’s a defense in the world that’s going to allow you to do that.”
Drummond clearly agreed with his coach, though he didn’t want to say anything that would attract the attention of the league office.
“I don’t have a good answer because I’m not trying to get fined,” he said. “I’ll let you come up with what you think.”
The foul occurred when the Pistons were down by 41 points but Casey didn’t think it was simply a case of frustration on Drummond’s part.
“I’m not promoting hurting anybody but you can’t let a guy drive from the top of the key to the rim untouched,” he said. “I’m not promoting dirty (play). I would say Giannis expects that. He expects a confrontation.”
Drummond, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, was a minus-45 during Game 1. That was the lowest in playoff history since at least 2001, according to Basketball Reference.
“I was more than ready. Prepared, ready to go,” he said. “I just have to do it a step harder.”
Biggest adjustment for Game 2
The Pistons looked happy just to be in the playoffs for the opener. It showed right from the opening tp, as the Bucks led by 20 after the first quarter.
“We weren’t prepared for their force and energy,” Drummond said. “We allowed them to get going from the beginning. … We’re capable of playing this team, we’re capable of beating this team. I think we got the first-game jitters out. Now it’s time to buckle down and really play these guys and defend them the right way.”
Casey worked on a number of adjustments during practice but the biggest change has to come from above their necks.
“We’ve got to come out upset with a mad at the world disposition,” Casey said. “I thought we were excited to be in the playoffs and they had the mentality of ‘We’re going to come out and take care of business.’ We’ve got to change that thought process to one of aggression, toughness, hard play on both ends of the floor.”
Turnovers weren’t a major factor, as the Pistons made 13. But they shot 38 percent from the floor for the game and took just four 3-pointers in the opening quarter, missing all of them.
“We took the shots they wanted us to take,” Casey said.
Published at Mon, 15 Apr 2019 20:14:03 +0000