DETROIT - Blake Griffin struggled most of Wednesday night.
But he delivered when it mattered most.
Griffin scored 11 of his team-high 25 points after he re-entered the game in the fourth quarter to push the Pistons to a 115-106 victory at Little Caesars Arena — the team’s fifth straight win and the fourth since Griffin arrived via trade from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Andre Drummond scored 17 points and added a season-high 27 rebounds for the Pistons (27-26) on the night before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
Drummond added three steals and three blocked shots.
The Pistons led for most of the evening but Nets swingman Allan Crabbe scored 10 straight points to cut a 11-point deficit to 91-88 with 7:20 remaining.
That’s when Griffin went to work.
The highlight of the surge was a step-back 3-pointer against Jarrett Allen to make the score 102-94 with 4:41 remaining.
Griffin also picked up his first technical foul as a Piston for arguing a call in the third quarter. He added seven assists.
Stanley Johnson added 19 points and three steals.
Crabbe led the Nets (19-37) with 34 points.
The Nets were missing several regulars, which included former U-M standout Caris LeVert (illness, concussion protocol).
The Pistons will try to complete a perfect six-game home stand Friday night against Griffin’s former team, the Clippers.
The twin towers of Drummond and Griffin struggled in the first half, shooting a combined 5-for-17 from the field.
Griffin relied too much on the 3-point shot, going 0-for-3 from behind the arc.
Drummond missed several easy opportunities around the rim.
But the Pistons led most of the first half behind 10 points from Langston Galloway.
The Pistons also forced 10 turnovers by the Nets.
But it took an Ish Smith's 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Pistons a 53-50 lead.
With center Willie Reed beginning his league-mandated, six-game suspension, the Pistons only had 11 players available.
The team made the decision to send forward Brice Johnson to Chicago to play with the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons’ Gatorade League affiliate, against the Windy City Bulls before it knew of the NBA’s decision on Reed.
“We were made aware of it on the trade call,” Van Gundy said.
The NBA announced Tuesday that Reed, 27, has been suspended six games without pay for a domestic violence incident involving his wife.
The National Basketball Players Association said in a release that it would appeal, calling the decision "excessive and inappropriate."
Reed was arrested in Miami and charged with a misdemeanor offense on Aug. 5, and he entered into a pretrial diversion program to resolve the criminal charge Oct. 16.
He played with the Miami Heat last season.
© Gannett Co., Inc. 2018. All Rights Reserved