About Last Night

About Last Night: Griffin goes off while big men battle in Detroit

Blake Griffin pours in 50 on night all unbeaten teams stay perfect; Embiid and Drummond renew war of words

Drew Packham, NBA.com

While Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond were locked in the latest iteration of their trash-talking battle (see below), Blake Griffin was having a career night in Detroit.

Griffin scored a career-high 50 points, capping it off with the game-winning bucket and free throw as the Pistons outlasted the Sixers 133-132 in a wild win in overtime at Little Caesars Arena.

Griffin got hot in the second quarter, scoring 22 in the frame and finishing the first half with 28. The five-time All-Star was a beast all night and finished 20-for-35 from the floor, going 5-for-10 on 3-pointers.

It was the first 50-point performance from a Pistons player since Rip Hamilton scored 51 on Dec. 27, 2006. Griffin is just the sixth Detroit player to score 50, and the first to ever put up a statline topping 50 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Griffin spoke to NBA TV about the solid start to the season for him and the 3-0 Pistons.

Pistons’ 50-point scorers:

New season, Same story, Different ending

Before Griffin’s heroics got the headlines, the story behind the story in Detroit was the latest chapter of the Joel Embiid vs. Andre Drummond showdown.

One of the best and most enjoyable matchups last season featured the back-and-forth from Philly’s Embiid and Detroit’s Drummond. Embiid and his Sixers got the best of Drummond, sweeping the season series as Embiid averaged 26 points and 9.3 rebounds while playing in three of the four games. Drummond, for his part, put up 12.8 ppg and 12 rpg in the four games.

But it was the off-the-court trash talk that drew headlines as the pair famously exchanged words over social media, so it was no surprise to see the duo once again jawing in this season’s first tussle.

Embiid got the best of Drummond in the box score, going for 33 points and 11 rebounds to Drummond’s 14 and 16 (on 6-for-20 shooting). It was another physical battle, which eventually ended with Drummond being ejected with 42.8 seconds left in regulation after his second technical foul.

As you can see, the call that drew Drummond’s ire was dubious as Embiid may have embellished the contact just a little bit.

Embiid got the call — he may get another call from the league for his “Emmy Award winning” performance as Drummond tweeted after the game — but Drummond got the last laugh as his Pistons won with Embiid missing the potential game-winning 3-pointer in OT.

The two teams will tangle Nov. 3 in Philadelphia, so get your popcorn ready for that Saturday matinee.

Davis keeps Pelicans soaring

The Pelicans improved to 3-0 with a 116-109 home win over the Clippers behind Anthony Davis’ 34 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. New Orleans is one of five remaining unbeaten teams in the league and they’re winning by scoring at a ridiculous rate.

Through three games, the Pelicans are averaging 132 ppg, a number brought down by Tuesday’s season-low of “just” 116 points. The Pelicans struggled from beyond the arc, missing 18 of 24 3-point attempts.

“Sometimes you have nights like this,” Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton said of the poor shooting and tight contest after two blowouts. “Especially late in the season, come playoff time, once teams start scouting us. We needed to go through this, to see our character.”

Check out how the Pelicans’ scoring stacks up historically through the first three games:

And we’re rolling along, too

With the Pistons and Pelicans staying perfect, it was up to the Nuggets to keep their record unblemished to make it a perfect 3-for-3 night for the unbeatens. Denver didn’t disappoint, dominating the Kings 126-112 behind Nikola Jokic’s 14 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. The Nuggets had eight different players score in double-digits and never trailed to reach 4-0.

Denver has won its first four games for the first time since starting 5-0 in 2009-10.

“It was a good win,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Obviously, not the defense that we had hoped for, but we’re not going to hold everybody below 100.”

Quote of the Night

”Some of us tried to stop him, and he just had an amazing day. We tried everything but sometimes you can’t, you know?”

— Sixers forward Dario Saric, on Blake Griffin

Dunk of the Night

It was Blake Griffin’s night, as Joel Embiid found out the hard way.

Go with what you know

Coaches love to run plays they know will work, and Dwane Casey pulled out an oldie-but-goodie on Griffin’s game-winning drive.

As pointed out, Griffin’s drive was eerily similar to a play last February in which Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas (like Griffin) took the inbounds pass, faked the handoff and drove right to the hole for the bucket. Valanciunas’ dunk over John Henson beat the buzzer and sent the game to OT. (He wasn’t as fortunate to get the and-one.) Toronto would go on to lose that game, but Casey obviously kept the play in his back pocket.

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