The league said its charging call on Griffin for barreling into Trevor Ariza with 12 seconds left was correct because Ariza “beats Griffin to the point of contact and takes the contact while retreating, maintaining legal guarding position.”
The NBA also said it should have called a foul on Griffin for holding Houston's James Harden with 17 seconds to go on a play in which Griffin knocked the ball away for a steal.
Griffin appeared to direct some harsh words at officials before leaving the court after the Clippers' 100-98 defeat at Staples Center. He also indirectly criticized the charging call that gave the ball back to the Rockets with a one-point lead.
“You guys saw it,” Griffin told reporters after the game. “I can't really say anything about it without getting fined.”
There was better news Monday involving Griffin's right elbow, which had forced him to miss the previous 15 games after having a staph infection surgically removed. Griffin said the elbow was not as sore as he had expected after playing 40 minutes against the Rockets.
“That's encouraging for me,” said Griffin, who had 11 points on four-for-10 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The Clippers held a rare practice Monday, in part to help them ease Griffin back into the lineup. He committed five of the Clippers' 20 turnovers and was called for five fouls against the Rockets.
Shooting guard J.J. Redick said the Clippers needed to do a better job of getting Griffin into his most effective spots on the court. There was also something Redick wanted from Griffin.
“I would like to see him be more aggressive,” Redick said, “and be Blake.”
The Clippers intend to monitor Jordan Hamilton's sprained right ankle over the next few days before deciding whether to sign the small forward for the rest of the season.
Hamilton's second 10-day contract expired Monday. If his ankle progresses nicely, the team would probably re-sign him; if not, it could consider other options.
It's a good time for the Clippers to be hitting a soft pocket of their schedule after having fallen into a three-way tie with Dallas and San Antonio for fifth place before Monday's games in the Western Conference.
The Clippers' next seven games include only two against teams with winning records — Washington and New Orleans — and both games are at Staples Center. The Clippers would probably prefer to avoid dropping into seventh place, which is likely entail a first-round playoff series against the dreaded Memphis Grizzlies.
Small forward Matt Barnes was listed as questionable for the game Tuesday against Charlotte because his right hamstring continued to bother him. … Rivers didn't seem to care that the Clippers would need to go 15-0 the rest of the season to match last season's franchise-record 57 victories. "It's all about what we do in the playoffs," Rivers said. "If we advance, are you going to remember?" … Rivers interrupted Redick's media scrum to joke, "There's a new '30 for 30: I hate J.J. Redick,' " referring to the ESPN show that featured the widespread dislike for former Duke star Christian Laettner.
CLIPPERS VS. HORNETS
When: 7:30 p.m. PDT.
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1330.
Records: Hornets 29-35 through Sunday; Clippers 42-25.
Record vs. Hornets: 1-0.
Update: The Hornets are fighting for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite being well below .500. Former Lakers assistant Steve Clifford has engineered one of the NBA's top defenses in Charlotte, but the Hornets struggle to score, averaging only 95.1 points per game before playing the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Times staff writer Melissa Rohlin contributed to this report.