Monty Williams apologizes for foul
LOS ANGELES -- New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams said before Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers that he sent Clippers forward Blake Griffin an apologetic text after Jason Smith leveled him to the ground in last week's game between the two teams.
Williams, in his second season as the Hornets' coach, texted Griffin on Friday, waiting until the day after Smith hit him to earn a two-game suspension for the buzz to die down, he said. Smith sat out Monday's game -- which the Clippers won 97-85 -- to complete the suspension.
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"I'll say this, because I'm here in this city: What Jason did was wrong," Williams said Monday. "I told him that it was and that he went about it the wrong way, and that's why I reached out to Blake to let him know that it wasn't something we do on a regular basis."
Williams said hits such as Smith's don't occur as often in today's NBA as they did when he got into the league in the early 1990s. That's why he was surprised at the play. But, speaking candidly, he said Griffin's offensive presence was part of what sparked Smith to foul him in such a manner.
Griffin had dunked on Smith several times in the game before the flagrant foul in the fourth quarter.
"He's no fool -- he knows he's making people look crazy and guys don't like that," Williams said of Griffin. "He's gotta expect some of that. It's just gonna happen. If you jump 5 feet over somebody and dunk it and you got people coming up to you and hugging you after you do it, the opponent's not gonna say, 'Oh, man, can you do that again?'
"He's a phenomenon, and a lot of guys don't like that."
Williams added that Griffin was "really cool" about the situation in exchanging texts with him Friday.
Pedro Moura is a regular contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com.