Blake Griffin reflected on how much his personal fortunes have improved following the Brooklyn Nets' 115-107 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Griffin finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes on the floor. He also shot 4-of-9 on three-pointers, nearly matching the Bucks' six made threes all on his own.
"For two years, I didn’t hear much positivity, and probably rightfully so, but it’s pretty crazy how quickly it happens," the six-time All-Star told reporters. "I’m just thankful for this chance."
Given the stakes, Saturday was probably the high point of Griffin's tenure so far.
The 32-year-old saw his shooting tick upward (49.2 percent overall and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc) but averaged 21.5 minutes per game over 26 regular-season appearances. He then only put up 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in the first round against the Boston Celtics.
Even if Griffin is unable to replicate this over the remainder of the series, getting to enjoy this run with the Nets is a far cry from most of his run with the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons made the playoffs once during that time, and his buyout in March was a sign of how far his individual value had fallen.
Brooklyn may need more of Griffin than it expected depending on the health of James Harden, who exited with a right hamstring injury after one minute in Game 1.
The extent of Harden's injury is unclear. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving can only do so much more in terms of shouldering the offensive load, so Griffin would likely be pressed to step up if Harden misses any time.