James Harden, Nets beat Pistons in Blake Griffin’s return to Detroit

DETROIT (AP) – James Harden scored 44 points and Blake Griffin added 17 on his return to Detroit, bringing the Brooklyn Nets to a 113-111 win over the Pistons on Friday night.

Harden was back after missing his side’s previous game due to neck pain, adding 14 rebounds and eight assists on top of his big night of goals. Brooklyn was still devoid of Kevin Durant (left thigh strain) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons) but the nets had enough to keep the pistons in last place.

Jerami Grant scored 19 points for Detroit.

Griffin spent more than three years with the Pistons but reached a buyout agreement with Detroit earlier this month and joined the rival Nets. The Pistons played a tribute video for him during a first-half break, and he stood up to acknowledge the small number of fans in attendance.

Make no mistake though: Griffin was an opponent. In the second quarter, Detroit rookie Isaiah Stewart appeared to give Griffin a shot in the head with his arm. After a lengthy review, Griffin received a technical foul – and Stewart was called in for an obvious foul and thrown out.

The game was drawn 82 in the fourth game when Griffin made a 3-pointer that started a 10-0 run for the Nets. An alley-oop dunk from Griffin hit 100-90.

The Pistons fought back to tie it at 106 before Harden’s three-point game put Brooklyn back into the lead. A 3-hand Jeff Green made it 112-107.

The Nets had the ball 4.5 seconds ahead of two, but Detroit’s Saddiq Bey intercepted Green’s incoming pass and the Pistons called for a 3.3 second timeout.

Cory Joseph’s attempt to drive failed, and he may not have hit the buzzer anyway.

In addition to the riot between Stewart and Griffin, five other players were called for technical fouls: Wayne Ellington and Hamidou Diallo for Detroit and DeAndre Jordan, Green and Harden for Brooklyn. Green’s was on the defensive for three seconds.

NEWCOMERS

Joseph and Diallo, both taken over by the Pistons in recent years, made their Detroit debut. Joseph had nine points and Diallo six.

TIP-INS

Networks: Jordan had 10 points and nine rebounds. … Hardens 44 points were the most from a Brooklyn player this season.

Piston: G Rodney McGruder started for the second time this season after Detroit traded Delon Wright for Joseph. … The butts went 34 for 47 on free throws.

NEXT

Networks: Host Minnesota on Monday night. The Timberwolves beat Brooklyn twice last season, both times in overtime.

Piston: Visit Washington on Saturday night. The Wizards beat Detroit 3-1 last season.

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