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Blake Griffin makes Nets debut, dunks for first time since 2019

March 22 (UPI) -- Blake Griffin, who was once known as one of the NBA's best dunkers, smashed the ball through the rim for his first slam since 2019 in a Brooklyn Nets win over the Washington Wizards.

Griffin's throwdown came with 11:40 remaining in a 113-106 victory Sunday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Griffin signed with the Nets on March 8. The dunk resulted in the only points he scored in his debut for his new team.

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"It felt great," Griffin told reporters. "I knew once it happened it would be a thing. I tried not to look at the bench once I ran back down. I saw everybody standing up. It's hard not to smile in that situation.

"It felt good to just get that out of the way and move on."

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Griffin's last slam came when he played for the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 12, 2019. He appeared in just 18 games last season and appeared in 20 games this season for the Pistons.

The Nets led 88-83 about 10 seconds into the final frame at the start of Griffin's dunking sequence. Nets guard James Harden had the ball on the right wing and tossed a pass to the top of the 3-point arc for Griffin. The new Nets forward then faked a 3-point shot, which got Wizards center Robin Lopez out of position.

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Griffin used the deceptive move to take his dribble inside the paint. He then picked up the ball with both hands, soared through the lane and smashed the ball through the rim.

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The Nets bench erupted in celebration and Griffin smiled at his teammates.

Griffin also had two rebounds in 15 minutes of action. Nets guard Kyrie Irving scored a team-high 28 points and had seven rebounds and six assists in the victory. Harden scored 26 points and had eight assists for the Nets.

Wizards guard Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 29 points and had 13 rebounds and 13 assists in the loss. Alex Len and Rui Hachimura chipped in 20 points apiece for the Wizards.

The Nets face the Portland Trail Blazers at 10 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

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