It wasn’t his NBA debut, but it had been so long between cups of coffee – sips, really – that Kalin Lucas probably felt the same rush of jangled emotions as he did the first time around, 50 months ago. Lucas, signed by his hometown Pistons last week to a two-way contract, scored his first NBA points – a pair of free throws with 9:50 left in the second quarter, a little more than two minutes after checking into the game at point guard. “It definitely means a lot,” said Lucas, a prep star at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s who spent four seasons at Michigan State, going undrafted after averaging 17 points for the Spartans in 2010-11. “At the same time, I still haven’t done anything yet, so my job is to come out and be aggressive and compete whenever my number’s called.”
“To be back home – I’ve got a lot of family and friends. I’ve got a lot of support,” he said. “It’s definitely a blessing.” As a player on a two-way contract, Lucas can spend 45 days with the Pistons before the G League calendar ends in late March and then limitless days with them. “As far as right now, you’ve got to take it one game at a time,” Lucas said. “We’ve got to watch film, try to get better and get ready for the game on Wednesday. I definitely feel it’s a good fit for me. My job is to be ready, no matter if I’m playing 12 minutes or three minutes or whatever the case may be. My job is to be ready – and I’m definitely ready.”
“I haven’t spoken to him,” Rivers said of Griffin. “That’s happened many times in my career, so I don’t make a big deal of that. You guys do, but I don’t at all. I’ve had some guys, even some guys I’m very close to — most trades and departures don’t go very well, for the record. They just don’t. I can cite you 100 of them, Kendrick Perkins [in Boston], who was like my son. Nah, they don’t go well. We all come back eventually.”
“He’s not my coach anymore,” Griffin said of Rivers. “It was cool to be welcomed back like that [with a tribute video]. I appreciate all the fans. It was nice to get that game out of the way. It’s kind of compared to the first game of the year, in a way. It’s such a big hype, and now you’ve got to play 81 and now we’ve got to play 41 more or whatever it is. It’s over and we’ve got a lot of basketball left.”