Draymond Green elbowed Blake Griffin in the face, and then Andrew Bogut grabbed Griffin and refused to release.
So, of course, Griffin was ejected from the Clippers-Warriors game on Christmas.
Green took a total dirty shot, and seeing an opportunity to get an opposing All-Star ejected, Bogut seized it with another non-basketball play.
There are a lot of words to describe what the Warriors did. I would have used “cheap,” but Griffin uses another one that’s also apt.
Griffin, via Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“If you look at it, I didn’t do anything, and I got thrown out of the game,” Griffin said. “It all boils down to they (the referees) fell for it. To me, that’s cowardly. That’s cowardly basketball.”
“Instead of just playing straight up and playing a game, it got into something more than that, and it’s unfortunate because you want to play a team head-to-head,” Griffin said. “You don’t want to start playing other games and playing cowardly basketball.”
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Bogut responded to that charge, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:
“We did whatever it took to win the game,” said center Andrew Bogut, who was involved in two scuffles, one leading to Griffin’s fourth-quarter ejection – automatic after two technical fouls – and the other involving star point guard Chris Paul after the final buzzer.
“We made the big plays toward the end. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and their comments. We’re not really affected by that. We’d rather be called cowards and come out with a win.”
There’s a difference between being called cowards and being cowards.
If the Warriors were simply mislabeled as cowards and came out with a win, that would be one thing. But the way they manipulated the referees to get a star player ejected, there was no mistaken judgment here.
Doing what it takes to win the game is not a defense in itself. Nobody praises Tonya Harding for doing whatever it takes to win and criticizes Nancy Kerrigan for being too soft. There’s clearly a line somewhere.
I have no problem with physical play. But when its purpose is solely to get an opponent – who barely, if at all, reacts – ejected, that goes way too far.
I’d like to see the Clippers and Warriors settle this where it should have been settled Wednesday: on the basketball court.
Barring any more cheap – or cowardly or whatever you want to call them – tricks, we should get that chance Jan. 30. And if Kurt gets his wish, one I share, at least four bonus opportunities in the playoffs.