LOS ANGELES — Late in the second quarter of Wednesday’s matchup between the Clippers and the Thunder, Serge Ibaka got tangled up with Blake Griffin while defending him in the post, and flung him towards the ground after being whistled for the foul.
Matt Barnes immediately shoved Ibaka in retaliation, and that was followed by the usual amount of pushing and shoving by all players on the floor that typically happens any time an altercation takes place.
The referees went to the courtside monitors to review the incident, and ejected both Ibaka and Barnes for their respective roles in it all, and Griffin received a technical foul for no apparent reason.
Ibaka’s ejection makes sense, for a couple of reasons. His flinging of Griffin after the play was over was completely unnecessary and got the whole thing started, and as things escalated it appeared as though one of his shoves at Griffin ended up being closer to a punch.
These two have a bit of a history, which may have contributed here. Back in March, Ibaka caught Griffin with a pretty good shot to the groin, but was not ejected for it then. Tonight’s overall episode didn’t seem as severe, but Ibaka’s night is finished.
Oklahoma City was already thin on the front line without starting center Kendrick Perkins, who missed the game due to a death in the family. The Thunder took a 62-53 lead into the half thanks to a three-pointer from Russell Westbrook with two seconds left.