Lots has been made about the dislike that exists between the Clippers and their first-round playoff opponent – the Golden State Warriors. Much of it stems from incidents involving Blake Griffin.
On Christmas Day, Griffin was given two technical fouls in a two-point loss at Golden State, his teammates claiming the Warriors were purposely trying to lure Griffin into the technicals. Then, March 13 at Staples Center, Jermaine O’Neal of Golden State and Griffin engaged each other in a verbal altercation during a timeout, and O’Neal – apparently the instigator – was assessed a technical. After the game, O’Neal sought out Griffin and found him outside the Clippers’ locker room. The two got into a heated discussion, by all accounts.
Griffin on Friday at practice was asked if there are any lingering issues with O’Neal.
“I don’t have Jermaine’s number, so I don’t really talk to him,” Griffin said, “so I don’t know if there’s any lingering issues or not.”
O’Neal – typically a backup – is expected to start Saturday when the teams square off at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center in the series opener. He’s spelling Andrew Bogut, who is out with a fractured rib.
By the way, Griffin was asked about the “hate” that exists between the teams. He said he thought that was too strong a word. He suggested “dislike” is more appropriate.