Griffin leaves it to NBA to handle Ibaka’s foul

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – Blake Griffin would have preferred to see Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka get suspended after striking him in the groin on national TV Sunday, but the Clippers forward said he would accept whatever the NBA decided in the matter.
“I don’t really see how it can be let go, but if it is, whatever,” Griffin said after practice Tuesday. “I’m not going to do anything about it. I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to complain in the paper or anything like that.”
Ibaka was fined $25,000 by the league, and the flagrant foul 1 he was assessed in the game was upgraded to a flagrant 2 by NBA executive vice president for basketball operations Stu Jackson, meaning Ibaka should have been ejected.
The foul occurred with 1 minute 52 seconds left in the fourth quarter of a game the Thunder eventually won, 108-104.
“The league makes those decisions,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Obviously, we have a different opinion on that, but you have to go with what the league says, and hopefully we’ll get a chance to play them again.”
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said Monday he would have “smacked (Ibaka) in the mouth” if Ibaka had done the same thing to him, adding that he would have “dealt with the pain after.”
That would have been difficult, Griffin said. He went down in a heap and was on the floor for about a half-minute before being able to stand.
“In that situation, I probably couldn’t have (retaliated),” Griffin said. “It’s not really my job to start running around punching people and hitting people because that doesn’t really solve anything. It 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 a part of the game. I understand what Kobe’s saying. You can’t really tolerate that, especially at that point in 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.”
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins came to Ibaka’s defense, telling The Oklahoman that he didn’t consider the foul to be especially flagrant. “The dude (Griffin) is known for flopping anyway,” Perkins said, “so that’s what it is.”
Griffin’s response: “I saw some of Kendrick’s comments, and they didn’t make sense to me, to be honest. I think what he was trying to say was I was grabbing his jersey so I started it all and I deserved to be hit where I was hit. But if started swinging every time I got my jersey tugged at, I’d probably be swinging on every single play.”
If Ibaka had been suspended, he would have been forced to sit out Oklahoma City’s game on Tuesday against the Lakers. But Griffin refused to say the league may have stopped short of a suspension in order to let Ibaka play.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a big game, though. It’s kind of a mess. It’s kind of a tough situation. Whatever the NBA wants to do, however they want to handle it, we’ll let them handle it that way.”