Blake Griffin gives Pistons a spark in debut, scoring 24 points in win

DETROIT -- About the only thing that didn't go right for Blake Griffin in his Detroit Pistons debut was at the start of the second half, when he realized he had forgotten to put his jersey back on in the locker room.

Griffin scored 24 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists as his new team pulled out a 104-102 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena.

"I wanted to just come out and play hard," Griffin said. "Being really limited in my knowledge of our offense. I thought coach [Stan] Van Gundy did a great job of just putting in five things that we could go to, and we ran them to death, but they worked. And everybody just played hard."

Griffin's new team got a charge out of playing with the All-Star big man for the first time. The Pistons know they still have to build their chemistry together as a group, but Thursday's game offered flashes of just how good Griffin and All-Star center Andre Drummond can be together.

"It's going to be cool," Drummond said. "It's going to be really fun just to watch him really do his thing and watch him get acclimated to our team. His game is not going to change at all. He's still going to be able to get his touches and play the way he plays. But he has another big that can play alongside of him, too, so the sky's the limit for this team."

The good vibes were flowing for a Pistons team that believes it has finally acquired the type of megastar it can build around for years to come.

"He's a willing passer and a great passer," veteran forward Anthony Tolliver said. "As a shooter, as a player like myself, I can't really ask for much more. You have a guy who demands a lot of attention, and he's willing to make a pass, he's not going to force it. It's like a dream for a guy like me."

Griffin laughed when he was asked about forgetting to put his jersey on before the second half. Griffin had an equipment manager race back to the locker room to retrieve the jersey, but it was too late, and he had to start the second half on the bench.

"You know what?" Griffin said with a laugh. "I'm just going to blame it on a new environment. And my track record, I've never done that before. I went to go take my shirt off and I was like, 'Something doesn't feel right.' And I pulled it off and I saw that I only had my undershirt on. I don't know. I just wanted Anthony Tolliver to get a stop for me."

Van Gundy says he knows that his team must continue to grow together and hope that everyone can raise the level of their games alongside Griffin.

"Well, we were plus-23 with him on the floor in 35 minutes, so we were fairly dominant in that time," Van Gundy said. "And struggled slightly in the 13 minutes he was on the bench and we got outscored by 21. So we got to get that worked out."

As the Pistons wait for point guard Reggie Jackson to return from an ankle injury, the future seems bright for a team that is in the midst of a stretch in which it plays nine of 10 games at home. Drummond spoke for a lot of people within the organization as he got ready to leave the locker room late Thursday night, believing that even better times are ahead for the young team.

"It's going to be a long night," Drummond said of opposing teams now having to face him and Griffin together. "It's going to be a long night. You got to really figure out what you want to do. If you want to get dunked on by me or him."