The start of Blake Griffin’s career as a Celtic in Greensboro on Friday night was nothing to write home about. In fact, it may be obvious why the veteran striker hasn’t joined the squad all season. There was a pass fumbled, 3 poorly penetrated, and she wide missed the mid-range crosser and a spin. Whether this was just rust or the signs of continued decline were initially unclear, but the signs weren’t promising.

The ride didn’t take long to turn after Boston plunged into a hole in the first quarter of 15 points while resting the majority of the base five. Griffin has started doing some of the little things that have seen him play a useful role in Brooklyn for parts of the past two seasons. A few strong laps on the edge earned him trips to the free throw line. Discipline on the defensive glass earned him nine plates in just 16 minutes. The most encouraging development though came with his offensive unselfishness. It was clear that he was focused on making the extra pass and rewarding his teammates with a better look rather than just his outside jumping games.

There was a certain sequence regarding Sam Hauser dashing for an attack board that was pointed at Griffin which was prominent. The former All-Star could have taken his wing 3 but instead sent an unappearing dish to Hauser as he slashed into the corner, creating a high of 3. He followed up with a pretty similar look to Derrick White a short time later.

Griffin finished off starting in the second half on account of Noah Vonlet alongside Grant Williams, a potential lineup look for Al Horford’s resting nights. Boston outperformed Charlotte 36-21 in the frame as the extra spacing between Jaylene Brown and Derek White helped capture big quarters.

In an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin, Griffin summed up his night by scoring seven points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes.

“I felt fine,” Griffin said. “It’s a little rusty, I haven’t played 5-on-5 yet, so it’s always a little weird. These guys are great, the coaching staff has been great, they gave me a clear message and I was glad we picked her up in the second half and got the win.”

However, the most striking comments came from Griffin when he was asked to think about his time with his new Boston teammates so far. For the second time this week, Griffin appeared to take a sneak peek at his former teammates as he showered his new team with praise.

“I think the level of intensity and maturity of this group is off the charts,” Griffin said. “Every day when we get to work it’s intense. It’s not that we’re gone forever but these guys are locked up and no one has to tell us to be locked up. It’s refreshing.”

Griffin will have another week of rust-cleaning training camp with his new teammates before heading to Canada for Friday’s pre-season Boston final against the Raptors.

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