LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin said he was surprised Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka wasn’t ejected after Ibaka hit Griffin’s groin in the fourth quarter and was given a flagrant only one foul.
“Yeah, I kind of was,” Griffin said when asked if he was surprised that Ibaka wasn’t ejected. “We’ll see.”
The league could review the play and upgrade it to a flagrant-2 foul. If Ibaka were suspended for a game, he would miss Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
With 1:52 left in the game and the Thunder holding a 99-93 lead, Griffin and Ibaka were tussling in the paint when Matt Barnes hit a 3-pointer. After the shot, Ibaka and Griffin continued to jostle for position and Ibaka brought his hand down and hit Griffin’s groin. The referees reviewed the play and gave Ibaka a flagrant-1 foul. Griffin made one of two free throws and Jamal Crawford made a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 100-99 lead with 1:30 left after the seven-point possession.
Ibaka said there was no intent to foul and didn’t think he would be ejected or suspended.
“There wasn’t any intent,” Ibaka said. “I was just trying to get good position and he had his hands on me and I was just trying to get in position to get the rebound. I was not really trying to hurt him like that. We were fighting in the paint to get good position for the rebound. It was all about positioning.”
Griffin and Ibaka were exchanging blows throughout the game, but Griffin said he didn’t do anything to provoke Ibaka to hit him below the belt.
“Did I hit him first in the [groin]? No,” Griffin said. “It’s basketball. Sometimes you take it a little too far, but I wasn’t provoking him or anything like that.”