GRIFFIN DISCUSSES IBAKA INCIDENT AFTER PRACTICE
PLAYA VISTA – Blake Griffin remains bewildered.
Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, while battling for rebounding position Sunday afternoon, punched Griffin in the groin area, yet received a flagrant-foul penalty-1 and avoided ejection from the game. Tuesday the NBA announced the Thunder forward will be fined but not suspended for his actions.
Griffin, who said Sunday he surprised Ibaka was not ejected, seemed more surprised following Tuesday’s practice at the Clippers’ training center. “I don’t really see how it can kind of be let go,” Griffin said. “But I’m not going to cry or complain.”
The league’s decision caps two days of discussion about the incident. There were comparisons to an altercation between DeMarcus Cousins and O.J. Mayo earlier this season in which Cousins was suspended for one game for a similar transgression. Several media members and players, including Griffin’s teammate Matt Barnes, believed Ibaka should have at least received a punishment on par with Cousins.
However, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins disagreed, telling USA TODAY’s Sam Amick, "I didn't see it to where it was like that flagrant. [Griffin] took ([baka's] arm and knocked him down. The dude [is] known for flopping anyway, so that's what it is.
"[Griffin] ain't going to get the benefit of [the doubt] or what's really happening down there,” Perkins added Sunday. “You ain't seeing all the stuff that other people are doing. Serge ends up getting the bad end of the stick. I didn't like the whole thing — period. I thought it should've been a double foul."
Two days later, Griffin was asked if he was aware of Perkins’ opinion.
“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 that I was grabbing [Ibaka’s] jersey, so I started it all and I deserved to be hit where I was hit.
“If I started swinging every time I got my jersey tugged at I’d probably be swinging on every single play. I don’t know if that was a spur of the moment, like right after the game, [haven’t] watched the film, kind of reaction. Or that actually had some thought behind it or that was his final thought on the matter, I don’t really know.”
Sunday’s game between the Clippers and Thunder was physical throughout. Perkins and Caron Butler were whistled for double technical fouls in the first half after a brief altercation and there were a number of plays that included prolonged pushing and shoving. Still, nothing warranted Ibaka’s reaction which he said was not with the intent to “hurt” Griffin but merely a way to try and “get good position” for a rebound.
“From what I heard, he was just trying to get my hand away from his,” Griffin said. “But I actually didn’t have his hand. He had my arm. I don’t know how it’s going to be interpreted.”
Getting beat up in the paint is nothing new for Griffin. He has taken a physical pounding through much of his first three NBA seasons and was at the brunt of several unnecessary fouls during his two years at the University of Oklahoma. Despite the Ibaka incident, and suggestions by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant that he would have “smacked” the Thunder big man, Griffin has consistently kept his composure.
“It’s not really my job to run around and start punching people and hitting people because that doesn’t really solve anything,” Griffin said. “It really just gets myself in trouble and I don’t want that. If something like that happens I feel it’s best to let somebody else take care of it because me going and punching somebody isn’t really part of the game. I understand what Kobe [Bryant] is saying [about retaliating], you can’t really tolerate that, but especially at that point and time I didn’t need to get into a scuffle with the game being on the line and us trying to claw our way back in it.”