Celtics

Mazzulla has high praise for Griffin after win over Hornets

Celtics
Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin's days of Slam Dunk Contests and All-Star Games are over, but he showed Monday he still has plenty left in the tank.

The 14-year NBA veteran turned back the clock in the Boston Celtics' blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets. He threw down a one-handed alley-oop dunk that sent all of those in attendance at TD Garden -- including the C's bench -- into a frenzy.

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Griffin, making his third start of the season, also set the tone for the Celtics' 45-point first quarter with an early 3-pointer. The 33-year-old finished with nine points and four rebounds in 22 minutes.

After the 140-105 victory, Celtics interim head coach Joe Mazzulla showed his appreciation for all that Griffin brings to the table.

"I like Blake because he's a great person. He's been great for our team on and off the court," Mazzulla said. "Plays hard, super aggressive. And a great teammate. So I thanked him for his professionalism and his work ethic to stay ready. It's a long year and we're going to need more of that this season for sure."

Mazzulla was asked what goes unseen that Griffin has provided for the team off the floor.

"Perspective," he answered. "Constantly in our young guys' ear. Just giving guys his experience, how his career has gone and where he was successful. Just a sense of humor and overall a great guy. And so, guys flock to him and he's thankful for that."

 

Griffin is enjoying his chance to play alongside teammates with one common goal: bringing home Banner 18.

"Everybody is focused on one thing and it's just fun to come to work and play this way," he told our Abby Chin after the game.

With Al Horford set to return, Griffin will resume his reserve role. But it's safe to say when it's time for him to step up, he'll answer the call.

The Celtics will look to make it five straight wins when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.