This was exactly the kind of play Doc Rivers said he wanted Blake Griffin to try to make offensively in advance of Game 3 against the Thunder, facing up and attacking his defender by using a burst of speed.
The only problem was, Serge Ibaka wasn’t going anywhere.
Late in the third quarter of the Thunder’s Game 3 win over the Clippers, Griffin tried to do exactly that. He squared up, faked and spun, but Ibaka’s excellent footwork allowed him to stay in front of Griffin.
As the Clippers power forward turned back and gave a head fake, he did so right into the outstretched arm of Ibaka, crashing his nose directly into Ibaka’s elbow, causing some blood to be spilled.
The officials stopped the game momentarily because of the bleeding, but no foul was called on the play, and Griffin was obviously incredulous as to how that could have been the case.
“Hey Scott,” Griffin says to the official. “You see this? How did this happen?”
Just because there was blood doesn’t necessarily mean there was a foul; at the beginning of the sequence, for example, Griffin’s shoulder seems to make contact with Ibaka’s chin, and had that caused a wound, it wouldn’t have been a foul, either.
It’s an example of the physical style that Griffin plays more than anything, and on a night where Griffin finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots, it was one of a very few things that didn’t end up going his way.