Blake Griffin scored 44 points on his return to the Staples Center for the first time against his old team as the Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-104 on Saturday to end a four-game losing run.

Griffin was greeted with cheers during pre-game introductions and received a standing ovation after a first-quarter video tribute from the team that drafted him first overall in 2009.

He stuck his right arm in the air and then brought his raised hands together in a thankful gesture without smiling. He clearly wanted to beat the team that stunningly traded him last January after he had signed a $171 million (£133m), five-year extension.

Griffin scored 15 points in the opening quarter when he got razzed by superfan Clipper Darrell during free throw attempts. He had 26 points in the first half to help Detroit to a 65-54 lead.

His 3-pointer to start the third and a basket by Andre Drummond pushed Detroit to a 16-point lead. Griffin had a one-hand slam reminiscent of his old Lob City days.

Andre Drummond had 20 points and 21 rebounds for the Pistons. Danilo Gallinari led the Clippers with 23 points.

Kelly Oubre Jr. matched his career high with 26 points for the second time in three games as Phoenix Suns beat Denver Nuggets, a victory for the team with the worst record in the Western Conference over the team with the best.

Oubre also tied his career best with 11 rebounds as Deandre Ayton added 23 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns. They have won two of three with Devin Booker sidelined with back spasms.

Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets as Denver fell to just a half-game lead ahead of Golden State for best record in the West.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and a career-high 27 rebounds to help the Minnesota Timberwolves hold off Anthony Davis and New Orleans Pelicans.

Towns swished a 3-pointer to make it 106-103 with 2:55 left, giving the Timberwolves the lead for good. Then he blocked a 3-point try by Davis at the other end, triggering a fast break that Tyus Jones finished with a lay-up.

Davis had 30 points and 14 rebounds for his 13th consecutive double-double. Jrue Holiday added 25 points and seven assists for the Pelicans.

Aaron Gordon had 28 points and 12 rebounds as Orlando Magic held off Boston Celtics.

Jayson Tatum missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it for the Celtics. They charged back from a nine-point deficit in the final 1:43 before losing to the Magic for the second time this season.

Kyrie Irving scored 25 points for the Celtics, 10 of them from the foul line in the final 4:31. Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 13 rebounds for Orlando.

Dennis Schroder scored all of his 19 points in the second half to help Oklahoma City beat San Antonio.

Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Oklahoma City. The Thunder bounced back from a 154-147 loss in double-overtime loss to the Spurs on Thursday night.

Marco Belinelli scored 24 points, and DeMar DeRozan added 18 points for the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 after scoring a career-high 56 points Thursday.

Justise Winslow scored 26 points while Dwyane Wade had a huge blocked shot in the final seconds as Miami Heat beat Memphis Grizzlies.

Wade blocked a potential tying lay-up by Shelvin Mack, then won a jump ball to help the Heat escape down court. Wade scored 10 points to help Miami to victory as they reach the mid-point of the season at 21-20.

JaMychal Green had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies.

Donovan Mitchell scored 34 points, his third straight game with more than 30, to help Utah pull away from Chicago.

The Bulls trailed only 97-92 before Royce O’Neale and Joe Ingles hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 105-92 with 2:23 remaining. Ingles, who had 16 points, then waved goodbye as he backpedaled down the court, clinching Utah’s fifth win in its last six games.

Zach LaVine scored 21 points and Lauri Markkanen added 16 for the Bulls, who dropped their seventh straight.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 22 points, Willie Cauley-Stein hit his second straight double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Sacramento Kings beat road-weary Charlotte Hornets.

De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield each scored 21 points for the Kings, who improved to 10-3 against Eastern Conference teams this season. The Hornets fell to two wins and 11 defeats against teams from the West.

Kemba Walker had 31 points despite going three for 12 on 3-pointers for the Hornets, who have lost three straight games and five of the last six. Charlotte is five wins and 15 defeats away from home this season.

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