Blake Griffin foul now flagrant-1
LOS ANGELES -- Upon further review, Blake Griffin's dunks on Pau Gasol in the Los Angeles Lakers' 113-108 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday were considered legal plays. However, a foul by Griffin on Gasol in the third quarter when he pushed the airborne Lakers forward in the back has been upgraded to a flagrant-1 foul, the league informed the Lakers on Friday.
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The accumulation of flagrant fouls throughout the course of a season can warrant a suspension. In the NBA's scaled system, a player with three points who commits a flagrant-2 foul receives an automatic one-game ban. A player at four or five points who commits a flagrant-1 foul also receives a one-game suspension. A player at four or five points who commits a flagrant-2 foul receives a two-game suspension, and a player at six points or more receives an automatic two-game ban for any subsequent flagrant foul.
In January, Griffin had another garden-variety foul against Lakers rookie Darius Morris upgraded to a flagrant-1 after the Lakers petitioned the league to review the play after their first game against the Clippers this season.
When informed by a Lakers staffer about Griffin's foul being upgraded before the Lakers played the Rockets on Friday, Gasol raised an eyebrow and said, "Can they take the dunk back, too?"
Lakers coach Mike Brown was perturbed before the game about Griffin's push in Gasol's back, before the league informed the Lakers the foul had been upgraded to a flagrant.
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"I didn't know you can push somebody from behind and it's a subjective call where, OK, he didn't get hurt so everything is OK, it's just a foul," Brown said.
"I thought you had to make a play for the ball, especially when somebody leaves his feet. I thought you had to make a play on the ball ... to protect the athlete, but I guess you didn't."
Brown wasn't the only person to call Griffin into question this week. Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 on Friday for saying that the referees have "babied" Griffin and shown him preferential treatment.
As for Griffin's two dunks on Gasol?
"The follow-up dunk, they said there was minimal contact and it was a correct no-call," Brown said.
And Griffin's posterizing dunk on Gasol in the third quarter?
"They said that Pau jumped into Blake when he led with the forearm," Brown said. "They said that Pau jumped into him."
Despite disagreeing with the league's assessment of the plays, Brown said Griffin is only playing within the parameters being placed before him by the league's officials.
"Blake is doing what he should be doing," Brown said. "If he can do those things and anything else and it's a legal call? Shoot, if I'm Blake, I keep pushing guys from behind and doing what he's doing because he's playing his game. He's doing the right thing. It's a legal play in the league's eyes. So, if I were him I wouldn't change it at all."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.