With under two minutes remaining in a tight game between the Thunder and the Clippers, Serge Ibaka chopped down with his right arm and struck Blake griffin in the groin, causing Griffin to crumble to the floor.
There’s no doubt the act was intentional on Ibaka’s part, but the referees didn’t see it as an actual punch, only ruling it as a flagrant-one which meant that Ibaka was allowed to remain in the game.
Ibaka went on to draw Griffin’s sixth foul by converting a three-point play a few possessions later, meaning Griffin had fouled out and was done, while Ibaka got to stay in and contribute to his team’s victory during the game’s most meaningful possessions.
It’s possible that Ibaka’s intention was to chop away Griffin’s arm that was keeping him out of position, and it’s even likely that Ibaka wasn’t intending to catch Griffin where he did with that shot. But it landed nonetheless, and the referees should have ejected him for it.
We’ll see if the league reviews the play and determines it was more deserving of punishment than the referees did on the spot.
Check out Top 10 plays from Timberwolves last season
There are questions still to be answered: Will Bosh still be on blood thinners, and will he come off them on game days? Will there be restrictions on his travel? Will there be restrictions on his minutes?
But Bosh wants to play, and it sounds like the Heat owner is down with that.
The Heat are a much better team with Bosh on the court — he averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, shot 36.7 percent from three and a true shooting percentage of 57.1, plus he had a PER of 20.2. He was an All-Star, but couldn’t play in the game because of the clotting issue.
With Bosh, the Heat are in the mix for a playoff spot this season. The question is, will they have him for the full season.
Sixers waive both Carl Landry, just acquired Tibor Pleiss
Carl Landry and Tibor Pleiss are going to get paid this year — they both had fully guaranteed contracts for this season.
But they are not going to be playing for the Philadelphia 76ers this season — both were waived by the team on Thursday. This was not unexpected. Both players salaries will count against the cap for the Sixers (they are still $16 million below the league salary floor).
Once they clear waivers, both players will be unrestricted free agents (Landry likely will latch on with another team for the league minimum, Pleiss may as well or could head overseas).
Pleiss is in the same boat in terms of minutes, he was acquired from the Jazz along with a couple of second round draft picks just a few days back (the Sixers sent Utah Kendall Marshall, who was promptly waived). That trade was really about getting the picks — a very Sam Hinkie move by Bryan Colangelo.
This didn’t move the needle much on the Sixers season.
Trail Blazers Noah Vonleh out 3-4 weeks following leg surgery
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.