Should Serge Ibaka Be Suspended For His Hit On Blake Griffin?

During the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 108-104 victory over their Western Conference rivals the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (16 points, three rebounds, three blocks) was assessed a flagrant-one foul for striking Clippers star Blake Griffin (20 points, nine rebounds, give assists) below the belt.

The incident took place with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, right after Matt Barnes hit a three-pointer to bring Los Angeles to within three points, 99-96.

Ibaka explained after the game that he had no intention of hurting Griffin, and that he was simply trying to secure his position down low.

“He hit my hands away,” Ibaka told reporters afterward. “He’s strong, so when he grabs you, your jersey or whatever, and you try to defend yourself and rebound. So maybe you can do some move, not to hurt, (but) just to get good position, but then something happens where you get hurt in the paint. It’s not anything where I want to try to hurt him. I’m not that kind of person. I just try to play hard, and that’s it.

“I just tried to play hard. I really don’t care if someone is dirty or not, that’s not my problem. His game was intense. We all were complaining to the referees (about) some dirty stuff. It’s basketball. We just played. If you can see the replay, you can see he grabbed my jersey first so I wanted to try to defend myself, (but) not to hurt him.” (NewsOK)

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (two points, eight rebounds, four assists) threw in his own two cents on the apparent low blow.

“I didn’t see it to where it was like that flagrant,” Perkins told USA Today. “He (Griffin) took (Ibaka’s) arm and knocked him down. The dude (Griffin) is known for flopping anyway, so that’s what it is. I was (angry). The (Clippers’) reaction after that was kind of like Serge Ibaka against Blake Griffin.

“He (Ibaka) ain’t going to get the benefit of (the doubt) or what’s really happening down there. You ain’t seeing all the stuff that other people are doing. Serge ends up getting the bad end of the stick. I didn’t like the whole thing — period. I thought it should’ve been a double-foul.”(NewsOk)

Griffin didn’t seem at all angry with Serge when asked about the play in question.

“I guess it’s a chippy game like that every time we play. We’re both pretty physical teams with physical bigs. There was a lot of pushing and all that going on down low.” (NewsOk)

Should Serge Ibaka be suspended for the hit?


After watching the replay closely, it appears that Ibaka looks at the area, raises his arm and strikes Blake, right after lifting his head and looking at the basket.

Whether it was malicious or not, it certainly looked like he knew what he was doing. I don’t believe that it’s just a matter of two big bodies getting physical in the paint.

At the very least, Ibaka should be suspended one game for what he did. No more, no less. A fine won’t suffice.

Just on the mere fact that it appeared to be intentional should be enough for league officials to punish Serge.

Chris Walder is the Editor of Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports

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Tags: Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Oklahoma City Thunder Serge Ibaka

  • $43517978

    Of course Serge Ibaka should be suspended for his cheap shot on Blake Griffin. That was bush league. The bigger questions are: (1) how the f*ck was that only a Technical 1 and (2) why don’t any of the Clippers players ever retaliate for Blake?

    The officials got to see a reply of the foul. I don’t see how they could conclude it was just a Technical 1. The only reason I can think of is they didn’t want to eject Ibaka, which could have impacted the outcome of the game. If that was the case, then the refs deserve to be reprimanded by the league office.

    As for rough play against Blake, the rest of the league pretty much has the play book on him now. If you push him around and take cheap shots it will throw him off his game (and often get him to pick up his own silly fouls), and more importantly, the Clippers will never, ever retaliate. Someone on the Clippers should have given Ibaka, or Westbrook or Durant a shot to the balls yesterday afternoon. It wouldn’t have been too costly as we all now know such a play is just a Technical 1.

    • Christopher Walder

      I completely agree.

      I still can’t figure out why he was only given a flagrant-one, and not ejected from the game.

      • $43517978

        Maybe someone can explain it to me because I don’t get it. When teams start giving Blake the business, why doesn’t anyone on the Clippers retaliate to defend Blake? Just once I would like to see DJ or Turiaf or Hollins pop someone after Blake takes a hard foul. Ideally, someone would have popped Durant or Westbrook yesterday, but someone should have at least popped Ibaka. There would be no intent to injure, of course, just like Ibaka wasn’t trying to injure Blake when he punched him in the nuts.

        For the record, Blake had an opportunity to pop Ibaka when he took his 6th foul. But instead of punching Ibaka in the nuts (which apparently is only a F1 in the NBA), Blake committed a weak foul which still allowed Ibaka to make the basket and convert the three point play…and put the game in the refrigerator for OKC.

        If none of the supporting guys are sharp enough to realize that they need to protect Blake, then VDN or CP3 or maybe even Blake himself needs to say something. This is getting ridiculous.

  • John Patrick PC

    I don’t think that the nutshot was intentional. Why would he be suspended for an accident? Sure, the swipe against Griffin’s arms was intentional, as Ibaka said, but I’m sure that he never meant to hit the guy in his nuts.

    • $43517978

      It was closed fist. Let’s say he meant to hit Griffin in the stomach, not the nuts. That should still be a F2, right?

      If the NBA league office doesn’t do what the refs failed to do yesterday, they will be setting a bad precedent. A F1 is a small price to pay for punching an opposing player. Especially if you’re Serge Ibaka and the guy you punched is Blake Griffin. The Clippers really should have had one of their guys punch Durant or Westbrook in the nuts after the F1 ruling yesterday. The game might have turned out differently.