Blake Griffin approached the media for his session Friday and smiled as he prepared to answer questions about the first-round playoff series between his Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.
Then Griffin’s eyes grew wide when the Clippers All-Star power forward was asked if there were any lingering problems between him and Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal.
Griffin assured everyone he had no issues with O’Neal.
The question was asked because Griffin and O’Neal had a confrontation in the hallway outside the Clippers’ locker room the last time the two teams played at Staples Center on March 12.
The two exchanged words after O’Neal approached a surprised Griffin, but nothing happened.
“I don’t have Jermaine’s number,” Griffin said Friday. “So I don’t really talk to him. So I don’t know if there’s a lingering issue or not.”
OK, Griffin was then asked, do the Clippers and Warriors hate each other?
Even Reggie Miller, the NBA Hall of famer and NBA analyst for TNT, weighed in on the subject.
“They hate each other,” Miller said.
“I don’t know about hate,” Griffin said. “This is basketball. I don’t know if hate is a great word. We have to go against each other. The dislike may be there for some guys, for some people on both teams. I don’t know if I would use hate. I don’t know if I’ll ever say I hate a basketball player just because I play against him. That’s not really a word I throw around a lot.”
In their teams' four games this season, there were nine individual technical fouls called, two ejections (Griffin and Golden State’s Draymond Green), one flagrant foul (Green) and that confrontation between Griffin and O’Neal.
“Any time you have to talk about somebody more than you should, you’re going to get a little tired of it,” Griffin said. “I’m sure they’re tired of talking about us. I think we’re just ready to play.”
The best-of-seven series opens Saturday at Staples Center. Tipoff is 12:30 p.m.