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Steve Nash had no plans to alter the Nets’ playing rotation on Saturday night, but he went for an infusion of experience with his team trailing late in the third quarter.

Blake Griffin made his first appearance of this year’s playoffs — and his first overall since April 2 — and scored eight points in eight minutes of the Nets’ 109-103 Game 3 loss to the Celtics.

“I thought he played his [butt] off,” Nash said after the game. “He really hustled and worked and made a couple 3s and gave us a lift.

“We needed a lift, some energy and some life and a little bit of belief.”

The six-time All-Star nursed an ankle injury late in the regular season, but Griffin didn’t get off the bench in the first two losses of this series in Boston despite being available to play.

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin
Corey Sipkin

Veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge still has not appeared in the series. Nash said before the game that midseason pickup and current starting center Andre Drummond and athletic big man Nic Claxton are quicker defensively and “fit our group’s needs more at this moment in time.”

The 33-year-old Griffin came off the bench with 1:27 left in the third quarter, and his consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth drew the Nets within four, at 88-84.

“I’ve tried to stay ready at every moment,” Griffin said. “Most of the time it looks like you’re not going to play, you’re normally right. But they told me, and I was ready. But that’s just part of my job. It’s all of our jobs to stay ready. But it was great to be out there.”

Claxton added 13 points with seven rebounds, but Drummond had a quiet game statistically with just two points and three boards in 16 minutes.

Source: NYPOST

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