GRIFFIN EJECTED FOR SECOND TIME IN CAREER
OAKLAND – Getting ejected is a rarity for Blake Griffin.
Until Wednesday he had not been tossed from a game in the Chris Paul era in Los Angeles. It had been 1,073 days, 229 games, the only previous time coming 29 games into his professional career.
Despite absorbing countless hard fouls and hacks and scratches and elbows and perceived cheap shots, Griffin remains unwavering and composed. His play is mightier than the sword, so to speak.
Even after being elbowed in the face by Golden State’s Draymond Green on the final play of the third quarter in Wednesday’s 105-103 loss and getting tangled up with Andrew Bogut 1:17 later, Griffin would argue he still should have a single career ejection.
“I got two technicals for nothing,” he said in his postgame meeting with the media after spending the final 10:43 of the game in the Clippers’ locker room watching on television.
He received a technical foul after both incidents, the second resulting in a controversial early exit.
“Both techs you could make a case that Blake shouldn’t have gotten either one,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “But he did. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do on the second one, I didn’t see that either. It looked like the guy (Bogut) was grabbing his jersey and Blake was flailing around trying to get loose.”
From the Warriors side, there appeared to be an impetus to get Griffin ejected.
“It’s tough,” Matt Barnes said. “That guy gets beat up more than anybody in the NBA and if he retaliates he gets a technical. He got a technical tonight for walking up to someone who elbowed him in the face. He’s in a tough situation. They did what they could to get our best player out of the game and they succeeded at it.”
Said Rivers: “I don’t know if they were, but it sure looked like it. I can’t accuse them of that, but it looked like it.”
The implication was not lost on Griffin either.
“I thought instead of just playing straight up and playing a game, it got into a little something more than that,” Griffin said. “It’s unfortunate because you want to play a team head-to-head. You don’t want to start playing little games and playing cowardly basketball.”
The Clippers controlled Wednesday’s Christmas nightcap throughout most of the first three quarters. The Clippers led by as many as 13 points, out-shot the Warriors and withstood two charges from Golden State. Griffin, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, was the offensive focal point, scoring 20 points with 14 rebounds and five assists, and dominating Warriors’ All-Star David Lee.
Lee, Bogut, Marreese Speights and other Warriors routinely bodied Griffin and played physical with him, which is nothing new for a player who has been fouled 1,703 times since entering the league in 2010-11. What followed was far from routine, however.
Green, a second-year role player, threw an elbow around Griffin’s throat and Griffin did not retaliate in any way from a physical standpoint.
“I didn’t get the right explanation,” Rivers said. “I’m a big believer, that if a guy throws an elbow, how do you get a technical?”
The second one came as Griffin was trying for his second offensive rebound of an early fourth-quarter possession and was being grabbed by Bogut.
“He was grabbing on to me,” Griffin said of Bogut. “I think they called the foul and then he grabbed the neck of my jersey so I kind of tried to back up knowing that I already had one technical. But he did a good job; he sold it and then they fell for it.”
And that’s what seemingly rubbed Griffin and his teammates the wrong way more than anything. Asked if he had seen any precedent like it before, Barnes, who was ejected from Sunday’s game for a Flagrant Foul 2 that was later downgraded, said, “This is the first time I’ve seen it. Usually, if you’re going to try to beat someone you try to beat them straight up. You don’t try to use antics and tactics and stuff to get people out of the game.”
After leaving the floor Griffin said he sat in the locker room and watched the remainder of the game on television. He did not watch a replay of either incident.
“I’m back here [in the locker room],” Griffin said. ”And if you look at it, I didn’t do anything and got thrown out of the game. Like I said, it all boils down to they fell for it. To me that’s cowardly, cowardly basketball.”