Blake Griffin

Suns’ P.J. Tucker ejected after elbow thrown to Blake Griffin’s head (VIDEO)


LOS ANGELES — Before his Suns took on the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night, coach Jeff Hornacek talked about liking his team’s toughness, saying its something he took away from playing under Jerry Sloan in Utah and tried to pass along to this squad.

Not sure this is exactly what he meant.

Midway through the fourth quarter P.J. Tucker and Blake Griffin got tangled up, went to the ground with Griffin on top and that’s when Tucker threw a forarm/elbow/punch at Griffin. Not really sure how to describe it other than it was a “get off of me” move by Tucker, not one that made a real connection with the target.

But it was easily more than enough. The swing got Tucker ejected (and only he was assessed a personal foul on the play). You can be sure the league will add a suspension to that.

“We got tangled up and went down and, you know,” Griffin said with a grin after the game.”Took a little forearm. But you know, it happens, I’ll let somebody else handle that.”

That’s not how the Suns saw it.

“(Tucker) got tackled, I’m not even sure how the foul was on him,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He’s standing there, Blake takes him right to the ground and rolls on top of him and he’s just trying to get him off. I don’t know why that would be a suspension.”

That would be a coach sticking up for his player. As he should. Suns fans probably saw it as instant Karma that Griffin fouled out just more two minutes later after back-to-back offensive fouls. The Clippers held on to win the game 112-105.

Hat tip to Ben Golliver at SI’s The Point Forward for the video.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.