By Ben Golliver
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was assessed a flagrant foul for a low blow shot on Clippers forward Blake Griffin during the fourth quarter of a 108-104 Oklahoma City victory at the Staples Center on Sunday.
An intense, physical game came to a head when Ibaka and Griffin battled for rebounding position following a Matt Barnes three-point attempt. Ibaka grabbed Griffin's right arm and then chopped down toward Griffin's midsection, making clear contact with Griffin's personal area. Griffin went to the floor stunned and doubled over in pain.
The referees reviewed the play and assessed a flagrant foul 1, for contact deemed unnecessary, rather than a flagrant foul 2, given for contact that is both unnecessary and excessive. Because Ibaka avoided a flagrant foul 2, which requires an automatic ejection, he was able to remain in the game.
The NBA league office reviews all flagrant fouls and could conclude that Ibaka's foul warrants an additional fine and/or suspension.
Barnes' three-pointer went in, Griffin made one of his two free throws for the flagrant, and Jamal Crawford then hit a three-pointer, giving the Clippers a seven-point possession as a result of Ibaka's foul. The Thunder held on, however, closing on a 9-4 run to sweep the season series with the Clippers.
Oklahoma City improved to 43-16 on the season; the Clippers dropped to 43-19. Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 35 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals. Chris Paul had 26 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals in a losing effort.
Video via YouTube user beyondthebuzzer | Hat tip: @BeyondTheBuzzer