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.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.