Blake Griffin admitted after Friday's game that facing the Los Angeles Clippers was different, but not completely strange due to the team having just one player left from "Lob City." Either way, the Clippers put an end to the Detroit Pistons' streak with Blake Griffin by taking them out, 108-95, on Friday night. Lou Williams scored 26 points to lead the Clippers, who outscored the Pistons, 31-15, in the fourth quarter. The Pistons had won five in a row since the Griffin trade, four of which came with Griffin in the lineup. The former Clipper had 19 points in the first game against his old team. On the other end, the Clippers improved to 5-1 since acquiring Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley in the deal, and 3-0 with them in their lineup. Harris had 12 points and Bradley chipped in 10 against their former team on Friday. Austin Rivers also returned from an ankle injury on Friday and scored 16 points, as Los Angeles has now won 11-of-15 overall. The game on Friday featured five technical fouls from multiple altercations between Griffin and Bradley and DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond. Nothing got out of hand, as Griffin and the Pistons move on to their first road game since the trade on Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks. The Clippers are back at it on Saturday when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers.
Timberwolves Fall in Butler's Return to Chicago
Friday night, it was all about Jimmy Butler's return to Chicago, but it was a former Timberwolve that stole the show at the United Center. Zach LaVine scored a season-high 35 points against his former team, as the Bulls edged the Timberwolves, 114-113. Butler, on the other had, had 38 points for Minnesota, who saw a 17-point lead go away. LaVine stepped up in the second half and scored his team's last 11 points, including the game-winning free throws for the Bulls, as they put an end to their seven-game losing streak. Both Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns missed three-pointers as time expired to seal the loss for Minnesota. Robin Lopez added 19 points for Chicago, who inched closer to a .500 home record, as they currently sit at 12-14 in the Windy City. They scored 33 points in the third quarter alone to begin the comeback, after giving up 40 points in the second quarter. For the Timberwolves, it's their second straight close loss after they fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the buzzer in overtime on Wednesday. They will return home on Sunday to host the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls stay home to host the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
LeBron Powers Short-Handed Cavs in Atlanta
The Cleveland Cavaliers shipped out six players at Thursday's trade deadline, none of whom they acquired were ready for Friday's contest in Atlanta, despite being in the building to support their new club. LeBron James took over for this night with his second straight triple-double of 22 points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high 19 assists in a 123-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers had just nine players in uniform on the night, but Kyle Korver stepped up to support LeBron against his former team. The 36-year-old scored 30 points for the first time since 2007, shooting 7-of-13 from three-point range, and fell two points shy of his career high. Korver played for the Hawks from 2012-2017. Jeff Green also came up big off the bench with 24 points on the night. The Hawks were unable to capitalize on the Cavaliers' short bench, despite Dennis Schroder's 25 points. They will stay home to host Blake Griffin's Detroit Pistons on Sunday, while the Cavaliers will debut George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. on Sunday against the Celtics in Boston.