Blake Griffin given flagrant-one foul for shove on Pau Gasol
Upon further review, the Lakers asked the NBA to take a closer look at three plays involving the Clippers’ Blake Griffin.
The league’s response: They were all called correctly with the exception of the forward’s third-quarter shove from behind on Lakers counterpart Pau Gasol on Wednesday, which was changed to a flagrant-one foul.
Informed of the reversal Friday evening, Gasol joked, “Can they take the dunk back too?”
Gasol was referring to Griffin’s third-quarter dunk in which he smacked Gasol in the face with his left forearm, sending him tumbling to the floor.
That was one of two dunks by Griffin that Lakers Coach Mike Brown said should have resulted in offensive fouls.
On the first play, early in the first quarter, Griffin grabbed an errant shot as it caromed off the rim and jumped on Gasol’s back, knocking him over.
“They said there was minimal contact,” Brown said, “so it was a correct no-call.”
On the second play, midway through the third quarter, Griffin took a bounce pass from Caron Butler and went in for a ferocious one-handed dunk over Gasol. While Gasol’s right arm made contact with Griffin, resulting in a foul on Gasol, Griffin struck Gasol in the face.
“They said that Pau jumped into Blake when [Griffin] led with the forearm,” Brown said.
The Lakers weren’t the only ones questioning Griffin’s play. Sacramento forward DeMarcus Cousins told SI.com after the Kings played the Clippers on Thursday that Griffin was “babied” by officials and the league.
“He’s the poster child of the league,” said Cousins, who was later fined $25,000 for his comments. “He sells tickets, but he’s babied. Bottom line.”
Brown, who spoke with the media before Griffin’s foul was upgraded to a more serious offense, declined to criticize Griffin for his physical play.
“Blake is doing what he should be doing,” Brown said. “I mean, if he can do those things and anything else and it’s a legal call, shoot, if I’m Blake I’d keep pushing guys from behind and doing what he’s doing because he’s playing his game, he’s doing the right thing. It’s a legal play in the league’s eyes, so if I were him I wouldn’t change it at all.”
It’s not the first time this season the Lakers have asked the league to review a play involving Griffin. Brown said in January that the NBA acknowledged it should have issued a technical foul to Griffin for shoving Darius Morris in mid-air on Jan. 14 when the Lakers rookie drove to the basket during a dead-ball situation.
The league did not penalize Griffin retroactively.
The Lakers honored their 1971-72 team in a halftime ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the franchise’s first NBA title since moving to Los Angeles.
Eleven players and Coach Bill Sharman attended the event, with Jerry West and Pat Riley receiving the loudest ovations. The Lakers won 33 consecutive games that season, the longest winning streak in professional sports history.
“I’ve always believed records are made to be broken, but I’m not sure that one will be broken,” former Lakers great Gail Goodrich said before the game. “It’s very hard. It’s almost half a season. Especially today where players are jumping from one club to another through free agency, I think it’s going to be very difficult.”
Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.
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