About the only thing interesting from this mid-March NBA game featuring one tired, uninterested-looking team playing out the string was the last 2 minutes 38 seconds of the first half.
That’s when the Philadelphia 76ers went retro.
They went Broad Street Bullies for a spell, morphing into their hockey cousins from Philadelphia of the 1970s, and then resumed their dismantling of the Clippers, winning, 104-94, Wednesday at Staples Center.
The 76ers used a 30-point third quarter to pull away from the Clippers and held on, as four of their five starters were in double figures. Former Clipper Elton Brand had 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Clippers were led by Randy Foye (20 points) and DeAndre Jordan, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds.
“We were not sharp, not one person,” Coach Vinny Del Negro said. “DeAndre did a good job on the glass but everybody from top to bottom pretty much struggled tonight.”
So, back to the end of the first half.
That’s when a flurry of technical fouls were handed out, with Philadelphia Coach Doug Collins picking up two quick ones for complaining to the officials. He was sent packing with 15.8 seconds left.
What led to the general unrest not long before was the two-on-one manhandling by the 76ers’ Jodie Meeks and Tony Battie of Clippers rookie Blake Griffin with 2:38 left in the half. Battie’s actions looked worse in real time than on the replay, and officials, who first assessed him a flagrant foul two, downgraded it to a flagrant foul one after a review.
Griffin, after taking it in the face from Meeks and getting pushed down and tangled up with Battie, looked about as angry as he has this season. Foye played peacemaker and Jordan was given a technical foul after the scrum.
“He was getting hit pretty hard the whole game,” Foye said. “He’s frustrated. When he goes to the basket, sometimes he feels guys don’t go for the ball. He thinks guys just take a whack at him just to let him know not to come down the lane.
“When he was taking his steps, he was ready to go off one foot. That’s why I think he got so upset, and that’s why I grabbed him real quick, because I could see how he got up. There was a lot of anger there. You don’t want him to get suspended.
“That was my birthday present -- save him some money.”
The episode was largely symbolic of Griffin’s rough outing on his 22nd birthday.
Said Griffin of the flagrant foul: “I just felt like they had let things go way too much up to that point. That’s what happens when you let things go when they don’t call fouls and things like that happen. ? And I thought it was ridiculous. So I’m not going to take that. ? I’ve done it too much this season. It got to me.”
He looked weary against the 76ers and seemed to revive only in brief spells. Griffin missed his first six shots and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.