Blake Griffin on hard fouls: 'Everybody says I need to punch somebody'

Clippers forward Blake Griffin says he isn't going to start retaliating just because players are fouling him

Throughout Blake Griffin's career, the power forward has taken a pounding down low near the basket. The Clippers' second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets has been no different.

Griffin endured multiple hard fouls in the Clippers' 128-95 win over the Rockets in Game 4 on Sunday, including basically being tossed to the ground by Dwight Howard with 3 minutes, 7 seconds left in the third quarter.

After Sunday's game, Griffin asked about the beating he's been taking.

"My entire career everybody says I need to punch somebody," Griffin said. "I never have. The playoffs isn't any different. I'm definitely not going to do something like that."

Griffin has seemingly come to embrace and accept the hard fouls, instead of getting frustrated by the contact. After Howard's hard foul, the superstar power forward just walked away unfazed.

"Hard fouls are a part of playoff basketball, and I think that's how basketball should be," Griffin said. "I don't take those fouls personally. My job is to go hit some free throws. We have to keep in mind what the bigger picture is, and that's ultimately winning."

Griffin's attitude on the issue has matured throughout this season. After taking a hard foul from Utah Jazz's Trevor Booker during a preseason game in October, Griffin grabbed the back of Booker's head. During post-game interviews, he acknowledged that he considered taking his retaliation further.

"I was going to and then thought, it's preseason, it's not worth it," Griffin said. "That's nothing personal to waste it on."

Griffin has received hard fouls since he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Clippers in the 2009 NBA draft. Other players around the league have even commented on Griffin's restraint, saying they would not have held back in some of those instances.

After Robin Lopez clotheslined Griffin in 2012, Lakers' superstar Kobe Bryant weighed in on the conversation, saying he would have responded with force. 

"I'd smack the ... out of somebody," Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com in 2012. "I've known him for a while and he's a really nice guy, so I don't know if he'd want to do that. But I would. I would've done it early in the year."

The Clippers are on the brink of reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their 45-year franchise history after Sunday's win gave them a 3-1 lead over the Rockets in their best-of-seven series.

Griffin's restraint is paying off. While Dwight Howard was in foul trouble throughout Game 4 after picking up two fouls in the first four minutes, Griffin helped lead his team with 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Magic Johnson tweeted Monday that Griffin has really evolved in terms of dealing with the contact.

Tweeted Johnson: "Blake Griffin reminds me of Scottie Pippen. Scottie didn't like the physicality of the Pistons but broke through in '91.

"Before teams could take Blake out of the game with physical play, but now he's broken through and trying to lead the Clippers to the Finals!"

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
76°