Serge Ibaka wasn’t suspended for groin hit on Blake Griffin because the league viewed it as ‘unintentional’
Mar 9, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT
When Serge Ibaka caught Blake Griffin with a violent shot to the groin near the end of the Thunder’s win over the Clippers last Sunday, most watching at the time expected the play to result in an ejection.
After review, the refs called a flagrant foul, but allowed Ibaka to remain in the game.
In the days that followed, many expected a suspension to be handed down from the league office, but Ibaka was merely fined $25,000 for his actions.
It can be frustrating at times to understand the league’s position on plays like these, and even the game’s players — most notably, LeBron James and Blake Griffin in this case — can find themselves in disagreement with the league over its decisions.
The NBA rarely comments publicly or explains its thinking, but thanks to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, we have a little insight into what went into this one.
Some checking with the league office this week revealed that Stu Jackson & Co. deemed Ibaka’s contact with Griffin’s, uh, groin area to be unintentional. The league view, I’m told, is that Ibaka was slapping at an arm that Griffin unexpectedly pulled away, leading to the painful connection and thus distinguishing the play from the “groin altercations” that earned Wade and DeMarcus Cousins suspensions earlier this season.
Most agreed that Ibaka wasn’t aiming to hit Griffin below the belt, even as the play unfolded in real time. Intent shouldn’t matter, however, as players need to be held responsible for their actions.
Ibaka should have been ejected at the time, or suspended a game in the days that followed. Both penalties would have been excessive, but one or the other would have been just right.
Mar 12, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
Andre Iguodala put up an impressive highlight as the Warriors routed the Mavericks.
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Mar 12, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
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Mar 12, 2014, 8:22 AM EDT
One really good team won’t make it at all, and at least two excellent teams won’t even make the second round.
Mar 12, 2014, 2:33 AM EDT
Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while thinking I never had teachers like that… San Antonio Spurs offense. The Bulls defense has forced everyone they have faced lately into an ugly, grappling fight on the ground that favors Chicago. Even Miami fell victim to it. San Antonio rose above it with…
Mar 12, 2014, 12:32 AM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 11:21 PM EDT
Kevin Durant led the Thunder to victory with his 42 points, but not before there were plenty of fireworks between the two teams.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT
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Patrick Beverley goes at Russell Westbrook just as he did on the play that caused injury in 2013 playoffs (VIDEO)
Mar 11, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
Patrick Beverley gives Russell Westbrook a not-so-subtle reminder of the play that caused Westbrook’s season-ending knee injury in the 2013 playoffs.
Mar 11, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Don’t use cotton swabs, kids.
Mar 11, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
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Mar 11, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT
Conflicts with yesterday’s prominent report
Mar 11, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT
All the way to playoffs?
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- Kevin Durant scores 42, Thunder win a chippy one over Rockets 7
- Report: Lakers to officially declare Kobe Bryant out for the season 19