Clippers’ Griffin spins to court after flagrant arm grab by Warriors’ Ezeli
By Ben Golliver
In the midst of a tough night, Blake Griffin went for a scary spin thanks to a flagrant foul from Festus Ezeli during a 115-94 Clippers loss to the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Wednesday.
With 10:18 remaining in the third quarter and the Warriors leading 68-49, Griffin attacked the basket off the dribble from the free throw line, going to his right. Griffin rubbed Warriors center Festus Ezeli off of a Chris Paul screen as he drove, giving himself the angle and a direct path to the hoop. Sensing he was beaten, Ezeli grabbed and held on to Griffin’s left arm with his right hand to prevent a lay-up attempt. Ezeli made no play on the ball and the force of his grab sent Griffin corkscrewing to his left. The All-Star forward eventually crashed to the court, landing hard on his right shoulder and head, although he was able to get his hands down to brace for impact.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson sided with Ezeli.
“He’s a great actor,” Jackson said of Griffin, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve seen those Kia commercials.”
Griffin was able to continue playing and Ezeli was assessed a flagrant foul 1 on the play, which allowed him to remain in the game. A flagrant foul 2 would have meant an automatic ejection. The officiating crew deemed that the foul was unnecessary but not excessive.
Ezeli’s foul, like all flagrant fouls, will be subject to review by the NBA league office.
After reeling off 17 straight wins in November and December, the loss marked the second loss in two nights for the Clippers in January. Griffin finished with 10 points and six rebounds on two-for-11 shooting in 35 minutes.
The Warriors improved to 22-10 with the win. Stephen Curry led the way with a game-high 31 points, eight assists and six rebounds. David Lee added 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.