The NBA's five-game slate of Christmas cheer ended on a combative note. In the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers visit to the Golden State Warriors, the Pacific Division rivals engaged in several incidents that, while not quite on the level of fights, at least registered as unhappy encounters. The big event occurred when Clippers star Blake Griffin, already saddled with a technical after verbally responding to Draymond Green's ejection-worthy blow to the neck, got tangled with Warriors center Andrew Bogut and received his second technical and an automatic ejection. The Clippers lost the game 105-103, and it figures that they missed their leading scorer.
To many observers, it looked as if they got a raw deal. While Griffin was not blameless in his interactions with Bogut, it did appear as if he avoided any heinous action that would require a second technical foul. You can take a look at the video below:
On Thursday, the NBA agreed with that take, announcing that Griffin should not have been ejected. From the Associated Press:
The NBA said Thursday that its referees made a mistake when they ejected Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin in the Clippers' 105-103 loss at Golden State on Wednesday night. [...]
Rod Thorn, the NBA's president of basketball operations, said: ''After a league review of the Clippers-Warriors game, we have come to the conclusion that Blake Griffin should not have been ejected from the game.
A common foul should have been called on Griffin for initially attempting to dislodge the Warriors' Andrew Bogut and a technical foul should have been assessed to Bogut for grabbing Griffin by the shirt and wrestling with him.''
This assessment won't give the Clippers what they really wanted — the opportunity to win the game with Griffin on the court — but it should at least give them some comfort in knowing that they were the victims of a bad decision. In a league where any one regular season game doesn't mean much, a mental edge can sometimes be as beneficial as a tangible result.
The Clippers could use that edge on Thursday, when they face the West-leading Blazers, but it figures that it might prove more necessary when they face the Warriors again on January 30 in Oakland. Something tells me that both teams will be plenty motivated for that one.
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