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Blake Griffin, Lamar Odom ejected after tussle over hustle

Jan 17, 2011, 12:33 PM EDT

James Capers, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Blake Griffin

The game was over, in any real sense of the word. It was 99-90 Clippers with 5.7 seconds left. Randy Foye would shoot his free throws, the Lakers would dribble out the clock and the Clippers would have beaten their second elite team in a week.

But it didn’t end quietly.

As Foye shot and made the second free throw Lamar Odom boxed out Blake Griffin — and Griffin wanted the position so he shoved Odom under the basket to get it. Odom, turned and grabbed Griffin’s jersey and pulled him under the basket with him. And suddenly you had them jawing, Baron Davis running in to protect Griffin and pushing Odom, which led to an escalation of pushing and talking and everything that passes for fights in the NBA. Ron Artest jumped in the middle of it to push Odom out and be a peacemaker.

After the refs talked amongst themselves,  Odom, Griffin, Davis and Artest were all ejected. Terrible decision to throw out Artest by the way, they clearly tossed him based on his reputation and not his actions. Artest got T’d up for the crime of being Ron Artest, nothing more (and after the game he took the high road and did not criticize the refs). He got in the middle but did nothing except separate Odom from the scrum.

Monday, the league rescinded the technical on Griffin and Artest. Odom and Davis still get fined.

But that’s not the interesting part of all this.

The interesting point is a question Zach Lowe brings up at Sports Illustrated — is there a time to turn off the hustle and coast to the end? I don’t mean like the Cavaliers are doing with their entire season, I mean the final seconds of an already decided game.

The game was over, whatever happened with the free throw, yet Griffin played the final seconds of this like it was a tied game. On one hand you want guys who hustle — how many coaches told you to play to the whistle? Griffin was just playing hard at the end.

But there is an unwritten rule here — why risk injuring yourself or others over a meaningless play? The last seconds of an NBA games (and college games and high school games) are played out this way all the time. Dribble out the clock and move on. Odom said that to ESPN’s Brian Kamenetzky after the game.

“Maybe I overreacted, but I just feel like if you’re up nine with the three throw going through, the ram in the back, at that point,” Odom said shaking his head no. “Any other time I get it. You’re playing hard, strong. But the ram in the back up nine? I just don’t get it.”

Honestly, you can make the case either way here and have valid points. But I tend to side with Odom — it was a made free throw and the game was all but over. There is a time to turn it off, and that was it.

  1. thestudiokida - Jan 17, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    The league should rescind Blake Griffin’s ejection. He was abused by Lamar Odom and showed absolutely zero reaction. Baron Davis was the one that reacted. It doesn’t impact the end of the game, but I wouldn’t want an ejection on my record.

  2. zblott - Jan 17, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Clippers over the Lakers is only LAC’s latest example of being the league’s Giant Killers this year. Check out their resume:

  3. jdebizwizard - Jan 17, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Kobe didn’t have an issue with Griffin’s play. He admitted that Griffin punked the Lakers and stated that you play until the final buzzer. MJ would have admitted that privately.

    • progress2011 - Jan 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM

      Why laker fans like to link everything kobe does or say to MJ is HILARIOUS ! People living in la-la land / land of plastic body parts and plastic people are the only people that attempt to make the comparison. Check the stats on your own time but a few are:

      MJ- 6 rings, he was the MVP on every Championship team !

      Kobe – 5 rings, 3 of the rings Shaq was the MVP and it was Shaq’s team. The other 2 rings, the complimentary players had to win the games.

      Kobe is the best scorer since MJ and it’s fair to compare him to Magic, Bird, Dr. J, Isiah, Dominique, Drexler etc.

      But he is not comparable to the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. No one is yet.


      • jdebizwizard - Jan 17, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Gee whiz. There was no intended comparison. Get off your soapbox. I lived in Evanston during the early part of the Bull’s success, then near the Deerfield practice facility. I only cited both names because Kobe actually said what I mentioned, and from what I know of my days of having season tix in the old Chicago stadium, MJ would have said the same. Kobe is not, never was, and never will be the kind of lock-down defender as Michael, which made MJ a complete ballplayer, not just a scorer for whom they have to sign a defensive wingman, like the Lakers did with Artest. To his credit, Bryant is far more creative of a scorer, who didn’t rely on a less expansive set of pet moves like Jordan did. Anybody who was sober and saw Griffin abusing Gasol on the post in the second half of yesterday’s game would have agreed the Lakers got punked. If Brad Sellers would have brought the same kind of ferocity to the Bulls back in the late 80s the Bulls championship count would have been higher, as they could have answered the Pistons better.

        Progress2011 – You made the comparison, I didn’t. Let’s put the argument down and back slowly away…

    • progress2011 - Jan 17, 2011 at 5:00 PM

      AHAHAhahahaha….Well stated bizwiz. I digress.
      I guess I’m just so sick of all the MJ comparisons . Thanks for your explanation.

  4. progress2011 - Jan 17, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    I absolutely love the the fact that the commissioner outlawed crying !!! The lakers are the worst Cry baby, pre-madona, plastic, M.C. Hammer pants wearing ponks !!!
    Before the new rule was implemented, EVERY play down the court, if the lakers didn’t score, they would cry to the ref all the way down the court and basically bully the refs to make the call the next time ( since they are one of the biggest markets, they use that leverage ).

    Now that they can’t cry and whine to the refs ( kobe with the fake scowl ) when they start to lose, they play dirty or pretend they want to fight ( fully knowing none of the girlymen truly want to fight ).

    Griffin abused lamar all night and after the Clippers took the lead, the girls in yellow got their panties all in a wad !

    Ahahahahahaha…..true ponks !!!

  5. m3ntalx09 - Jan 17, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Kurt Helin who wrote this article has a very bad and biased point of view. This is a very horrible article. It is true that Blake Griffin was playing aggressively, but when does he not?

    Also, if you look at the video it doesn’t show Lamar Odom pulling Blake Griffin along with him under the basket. It clearly shows that Lamar grabs Blake Griffin by the shirt AFTER the aggressive play and tosses him aside.

    This is a PROFESSIONAL sports and the game doesn’t end until the buzzer rings. All Blake Griffin did was play hard until the end. What is so wrong with that? Just because Lamar couldn’t handle Blake’s power and was pushed aside doesn’t give Lamar the right to pull Blake’s shirt and toss him aside. This is very unsportsmanlike and I am very disappointed in the Lakers.

    If you do not have enough sense or even the brains to look at what happened, then you do not have the right to even write an article and post it up. This article is very unprofessional and it is poorly written. I think you need to look at the facts and give an unbiased opinion, rather than letting your emotions and thoughts spout all these nonsense.

  6. lebronsinsecurity - Jan 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    You sound like a guy who only gets his LA information from TMZ or People.. Either it’s jealousy or bitterness.. I hope your only 12 years old or something…otherwise I have no explanation for your silly rants..

  7. fouldwimmerlaik - Jan 17, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    I understand where both sides are coming from, but I think Lamar did over react. Not to patronize Blake but dude, such is the attitude of most youngsters. He should have just let go.

    I’m elated with the recent developments concerning the Clippers. I would love to see a Lakers-Clippers showdown in the playoffs.

    On another note, que sera sera. Laker-haters always hate for the wrong reason. And so they end up with silly semantics and rhetoric like your proverbial diatribes in a kindergarten sandlot. I guess it comes with the territory if your franchise has 16 championships and a perennial playoff if not title contender.

    So, how many trophies does your franchise (outside the Celtcs) have?

    Envy, my friend, is such a B!@tch.

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