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Blake Griffin provides memorable moment for teammates, fans with big dunk in Nets debut

Washington Wizards center Robin Lopez (15) watches along

Washington Wizards center Robin Lopez (15) watches along with Wizards teammates as Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) dunks for his first two points as a Net during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in New York.  Credit: AP/Kathy Willens

In his first game with the Nets, Blake Griffin didn’t exactly stuff the stat sheet the way he once did as a six-time All-Star. But the free-agent big man gave 1,773 fans something to remember during a 113-106 victory over the Wizards on Sunday night at Barclays Center.

Griffin opened the final quarter by making a powerful move from the top of the key to the rim and throwing down a thunderous dunk that recalled his high-flying glory days. It was his first dunk in competition since Dec. 12, 2019, thanks to the problems stemming from two surgical procedures on his left knee, and it brought the fans and Griffin’s teammates on the bench out of their seats. It also triggered an 11-5 spurt that gave the Nets an 11-point lead.

"It felt great," Griffin said of that moment. "I knew once it happened it was going to be a thing, and so I tried not to look over at the bench when I was coming back down [the floor on defense].

"Then I kind of peeked over and I saw DeAndre [Jordan] all the way out on the side and I saw everybody standing up. It’s hard not to smile in that situation. But it felt good to get that out of the way and move on."

Griffin totaled two points, two rebounds and one blocked shot in the 14:57 he played, but he was a team-best plus-12 in that span. Considering he hadn’t played since Feb. 12, when he began negotiations for a buyout from the Pistons, the crowd’s reaction to Griffin’s first Nets appearance was music to his ears.

"Obviously, they’re limited, but I think our crowd has been great," he said. "I was trying to stay locked in, but I definitely heard them. When there’s a moment in the game and fans are knowledgeable . . . I always appreciate playing in front of crowds that know what’s going on."

New York Sports