Late in Sunday’s heated battle between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka appeared to connect with Clippers forward Blake Griffin below the belt as the two battled for position under the rim for a rebound.
Griffin fell to the ground in obvious pain and Ibaka was issued as Flagrant 1 foul for the action.
But Ibaka wanted to make it clear that he did not intentionally try to injure Griffin on the play.
“He hit my hands away,” Ibaka said, according to The Oklahoman. “He’s strong, so when he grabs you, your jersey or whatever, and you try to defend yourself and rebound. So maybe you can do some move, not to hurt, (but) just to get good position, but then something happens where you get hurt in the paint.
“It’s not anything where I want to try to hurt him. I’m not that kind of person. I just try to play hard, and that’s it.”
But, despite the video evidence, one teammate of Ibaka is not so sure the play was as flagrant as Griffin made it out to be.
“I didn’t see it to where it was like that flagrant,” Thunder center Kendrick Perkins told The Oklahoman. “The dude (Griffin) is know for flopping anyway, so that’s what it is.”
The game was very physical between two of the top teams in the Western Conference. Griffin fouled out a shortly after the incident with Ibaka.
Oklahoma City won the game 108-104 over the Clippers, giving them a 3-0 season sweep of the series.