Blake Griffin lifts Nets off the bench

Steve Nash had no plans to change the Nets’ order of play on Saturday night, but he drew on a wealth of experience with his team trailing late in the third quarter.

Blake Griffin made his first appearance of this year’s playoffs – and his first overall since April 2 – scoring eight points in eight minutes of the Nets’ 109-103 Game 3 loss to the Celtics.

“I thought he was playing his [butt] out,” Nash said after the game. “He really pushed and worked and did a couple of 3s and took us with him.

“We needed a boost, some energy and some life and a little bit of faith.”

The six-time All-Star suffered an ankle injury late in the regular season, but Griffin didn’t come off the bench in the first two losses of that series in Boston, despite being ready to play.

Blake Griffins
Blake Griffins

Veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge has still not appeared in the series. Nash said before the game that mid-season pickup and current starting center Andre Drummond and athletic big man Nic Claxton are faster defensively and “better fit our group’s needs at this point.”

Griffin, 33, came off the bench with a 1:27 lead in the third quarter, and his consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter put the Nets 88-84 to four.

“I tried to be ready at all times,” Griffin said. “Most of the time it looks like you don’t play, usually you’re right. But they told me and I was ready. But that’s only part of my job. It’s all of our jobs to stay ready. But it was great to be out there.”

Claxton added 13 points with seven rebounds, but Drummond statistically had a quiet game with just two points and three boards in 16 minutes. Blake Griffin lifts Nets off the bench


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