NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn announced Thursday that Clippers forward Blake Griffin should not have been ejected during the Los Angeles' 105-103 road loss to the Warriors on Christmas.
Griffin received two technical fouls: the first at the end of the third quarter, and the second, which required an automatic ejection, early in the fourth. On the first foul, Griffin was given a technical for reacting to an elbow from Draymond Green, who was whistled for a flagrant foul. On the second, Griffin was reacting to Andrew Bogut, who had grabbed his jersey. An NBA review determined that Griffin should not have been given the second technical foul and should have remained in the game.
“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," Thorn announced in a statement. "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.”
Additionally, the league office fined Green $15,000 for "failing to leave the court in a timely manner" after he was ejected for delivering an elbow to Griffin's head and neck area, which drew a Flagrant Foul 2 from game officials. The Flagrant Foul 2 designation applies to contact deemed to be "unnecessary and excessive," and it carries an automatic ejection. Green departed with zero points (on 0-for-3 shooting) and one assist in eight minutes.
Bogut received a Flagrant Foul 1 when his arm made contact with Griffin's head as the two players became entangled in the paint.
Griffin's second technical foul occurred at the 10:42 mark of the fourth quarter. He departed with 20 points (on 8-for-16 shooting), 14 rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes.
“When you look at it, I didn’t do anything, and I got thrown out of the game," Griffin said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "To me, it’s cowardly basketball.”
The Point Forward noted Wednesday that disciplinary action could be coming for Golden State.
"We were kicking their butt, and they went to something else," L.A. coach Doc Rivers said afterwards, according to the Orange County Register.
Content with the win, Warriors coach Mark Jackson downplayed the on-court messiness, which continues an ongoing rivalry between the two teams.
"We like them, Merry Christmas," Jackson said. according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "It’s good, old-fashioned ball between two teams playing for something.”
The two teams engaged in further pushing and shoving at the end of the game, with Chris Paul and Bogut setting things off by fighting for control over the ball after Clippers guard Jamal Crawford missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer.
Golden State improved to 16-13 with the win; L.A. dropped to 20-9 with the loss. There's been plenty of bad blood between these two teams in recent years. A sample: Griffin and Jackson exchanged words after Griffin stepped on Jackson's foot; Jackson's Warriors refused to participate in chapel with the Clippers; Jackson called Griffin a "great actor" back in January; and Kent Bazemore and the Golden State bench goofed off after Griffin missed a three-pointer off the side of the backboard.