Blake Griffin sat in his chair in the Clippers interview room after their victory over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night with his lips pursed and jaw tight.
Griffin was still ticked about the takedown by Suns forward P.J. Tucker in the fourth quarter that left the two of them wrestling to get free of each other while down on the Staples Center court.
It was yet another game in which an opponent had taken a shot at Griffin, but he maintained his composure instead of fighting back.
Tucker was given a technical foul and was ejected from the game for throwing an elbow at Griffin. On Tuesday the NBA suspended Tucker for one game for the elbow to Griffin’s chin. He will sit out the Suns’ game Wednesday against Cleveland.
“Just to do something stupid, to get kicked out, to get suspended, doesn’t help,” Griffin said. “We already have injuries. We already have guys that are banged up. We don’t need that.”
The 6-10, 250-pound Griffin had been punishing the Suns all night, dropping 37 points on them, including 22 in a wondrous first quarter, while missing just two of his 16 shots in the game.
But Griffin become entangled with Tucker as they were trying to get a rebound with 5 minutes 28 seconds left in the game. Almost immediately, they were in a wrestling match.
“You just take it as another tactic and you move on,” Griffin said. “Sometimes that’s what it comes down to.”
The Clippers will face a Golden State Warriors team Wednesday night at Staples Center that has two players — forward Draymond Green and center Andrew Bogut — who exchanged shoves and elbows with Griffin on Christmas night. In that game, Griffin was assessed two technicals and ejected.
So he could face another challenge Wednesday of maintaining his cool against an opponent that will test him.
“He sacrifices so much for us,” Chris Paul said Monday night. “He could easily punch back, get to fighting. He didn’t. I don’t know how he does it. That’s pretty selfless of him because he could do that and [then] he’s suspended for a few games and that hurts our team. It’s huge.”
Paul, Collison update
Paul left in the fourth quarter during the Suns game after feeling some discomfort in his right groin, but he returned to play.
Darren Collison also was hurt in the fourth quarter when he was hit in the groin area. He was taken to the locker room for treatment, but also returned to the game.
Coach Doc Rivers said both guards will play Wednesday.
The Clippers did not practice Tuesday.