Blake Griffin scored a career-high 50 points as Detroit Pistons extended its unbeaten start to the season with an overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
Griffin weighed in with a driving layup to tie the score with just under two seconds left on the clock and drew a foul from Robert Covington before making a free throw to seal a 133-132 victory at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena. Griffin also weighed in with 14 rebounds and six assists as Pistons laid down a marker to its Eastern Conference rivals.
Griffin's career night also included one highlight-reel worthy moment in the second quarter when he soared above Sixers big man Joel Embiid to slam down a monster dunk.
“We just kept fighting,” Griffin said. “We kept taking punches. At halftime I said this wasn't going to be a game where the person who punches the most wins, it's going to be about the person who can absorb the most punches, and we did that.
“We just believed and kept fighting and finished the game.”
Griffin, who was showered with chants of “M-V-P” throughout, said he had been determined to nail his winning free throw after missing six earlier in the game.
“I'm going to go and ice and then get back to the free throw line to practice,” he said.
Griffin was one of five players to finish with double digit scoring figures, with Reggie Jackson claiming 23 points and Ish Smith adding 21 off the bench. The victory gives Detroit three wins out of three as it sets out on its latest bid to return to the postseason. Pistons has not made the playoffs since 2016, when it finished eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia's preparations meanwhile were jolted earlier Tuesday when Australian-born guard Ben Simmons was ruled out with tightness in his lower back. Sixers coach Brett Brown said the decision to rest Simmons was precautionary, adding that he hopes to play against Milwaukee on Wednesday.
With Simmons missing, Embiid stepped up to shoulder the offensive burden with 33 points while J.J. Redick added 30. Covington added 16 points with Dario Saric 14.
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