Serge Ibaka wasn’t suspended for groin hit on Blake Griffin because the league viewed it as ‘unintentional’
Mar 9, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
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.
Dec 28, 2014, 10:30 PM EST
Flip Saunders said this a few weeks ago, too, but Rubio isn’t ready to stick to a timeline just yet.
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Nice move by the Lakers, who pick up a promising big man prospect with an inexpensive non-guaranteed contract.
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Dec 28, 2014, 3:30 PM EST
Bryant has uncharacteristically sat out the previous three games simply to rest.
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West shoved Garnett at the time, but was in a joking mood afterward.
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Cousins had it all working in this one.
Dec 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
It was a risky move by head coach David Blatt.
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Western Conference ends season with huge advantage, begins another right where it left off
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He was an offensive force Saturday. Who knew?
Dec 28, 2014, 12:28 AM EST
The Magic still won the game.
Dec 27, 2014, 10:25 PM EST
Just like Lance… and you really shouldn’t imitate Lance.
Dec 27, 2014, 9:00 PM EST
He’s done it twice in the last two games.
Dec 27, 2014, 8:02 PM EST
A sports hernia kept him out of training camp and the rookie has never caught up with the learning curve.
Dec 27, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Stephenson has missed the last four games.
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Will the Lakers’ offense resort to stagnation?
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Anthony Davis has arrived.
Dec 27, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
Stuckey says the trade robbed the locker room of accountability.
Dec 27, 2014, 12:30 PM EST
LeBron James was in “chill mode” and this team is vulnerable when he is.
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