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Clippers' Blake Griffin suspended for last game

SportsLos Angeles ClippersNBAProfessional BasketballBasketballTelevisionBlake Griffin

PORTLAND, Ore. — The NBA announced Wednesday that Clippers forward Blake Griffin was suspended one game without pay for getting his 16th technical foul of the season.

Griffin didn't play in the Clippers' regular-season finale Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. However, Coach Doc Rivers had said after the game against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night that Griffin wasn't traveling with the team to Portland, anyway.

Griffin has been dealing with back spasms that forced him to miss one game.

The NBA rules state that a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay after he receives his 16th technical of the season.

Griffin's suspension will cost him about $200,000 in lost salary.

Griffin was called for the technical foul for hitting Denver center Timofey Mozgov in the head while trying to swipe at the basketball with 3:23 left in the second quarter of the Clippers' victory over the Nuggets.

Rivers said he was surprised that Griffin didn't get his technical rescinded by the league.

"For us, it didn't matter, basketball-wise," Rivers said. "But financially you lose money and you don't want anybody to have to pay to sit. That's basically what Blake is doing today."

Clippers' T party

Rivers has seen the Clippers get better at handling their emotions this season. But they still have 80 technical fouls, tied with the Chicago Bulls for the second-most in the NBA.

The Oklahoma City Thunder leads the NBA with 98 technicals. On the flip side, the Utah Jazz had a league-low 17 technical fouls.

With the playoffs about to start Saturday, Rivers wants his team to play with high emotions. But he also doesn't want the Clippers to cross that line and get too many technicals.

"We don't want to have any emotional hijacks where it affects our basketball team," Rivers said. "But I think we're better at it, and we'll find that out. There is more tension and anxiety in the playoffs. But it's more exciting. We'll see."

Closing the TV gap

The Clippers finished the regular season with a 1.27 household rating in Los Angeles — 72,000 households — on Prime Ticket, their closest margin ever in TV ratings versus the Lakers.

The Lakers were on track to finish with a 2.15 household rating for the season on TWC SportsNet, their lowest rating ever on cable television. They dropped in households from 262,000 to 122,000. The decline is 54% from last season's 4.63 household ratings.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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