Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Ibaka ruling stuns Blake Griffin
By Arash Markazi
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Blake Griffin believes Serge Ibaka should have been suspended at least one game for hitting him in the groin area.
But Griffin also thinks the Oklahoma City Thunder's nationally televised game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night may have had something to do with Ibaka getting just a fine.
"From what I heard, I guess he's saying he was just trying to get his hand away from mine," Griffin said. "I actually didn't have his hand. He had my arm, so I don't know how it's going to be interpreted. It is surprising [he won't be suspended], but it is a big game tonight and I don't think they want one of their .. I really don't know. It's a big game."
Griffin stopped short of saying the Thunder's game against the Lakers had something to do with Ibaka only getting a $25,000 fine instead of a suspension, and just smiled when he was asked again.
"I don't know," Griffin said. "I don't know. It's a big game, though. It's kind of a mess. It's kind of a tough situation. Whatever the NBA wants to do and however they want to handle it, we'll let them handle it that way."
Ibaka's foul, called a flagrant 1 on the floor and upgraded to a flagrant 2 upon league office review, occurred with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Thunder's 108-104 win over the Clippers.
Griffin said he watched the play again after the game and doesn't understand how Ibaka wasn't ejected or suspended.
"I don't really see how it can be let go," Griffin said. "But I'm not going to do anything about it. I'm not going to cry and complain."
Kobe Bryant said Monday he would have "smacked [Ibaka] in the mouth" if he were Griffin and "dealt with the pain after."
Griffin, on the floor in pain after he was hit, said that's not something he would have or even could have done at the time.
"In that situation, I probably couldn't have," Griffin said. "It's not really my job to start running around punching people and hitting people because it doesn't really solve anything. It really just gets myself in trouble, and I don't want that. When something like that happens, I feel it's best to let someone else take care of it because me going and punching somebody isn't really a part of the game.
"I understand what Kobe is saying. You can't really tolerate that, but especially in that point in the game, I didn't need to be getting into a scuffle with the game being on the line and us trying to claw our way back in it."
After the game, Ibaka said "there wasn't any intent" on the play and that he was "just trying to get good position."
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins backed Ibaka and said Griffin is known for flopping and tweeted that he thought the play was just a foul but not a flagrant foul.
Griffin smiled when he was asked about Perkins' comments.
"I saw some of Kendrick's comments, and they didn't make sense to me, to be honest," Griffin said. "I think what he was trying to say is I was grabbing his jersey and I started it all and I deserved to be hit where I was hit.
"But if I started swinging every time I got my jersey tugged at, I probably would be swinging on every single play."