It turns out the Clippers weren’t the only one to receive a cold dose of reality with a 109-105 Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.
Shortly before fouling out with 48.3 seconds left in the game, Clippers forward Blake Griffin tossed a cup of water in frustration that soaked a Warriors fan sitting behind him along the scorer’s table.
The Warriors fan appeared upset after being drenched, while Griffin appeared upset for drawing his sixth foul.
“I heard him say something. But I didn’t know exactly what I did,” Griffin said afterwards. “It wasn’t full though after I take my mouth piece out. After I took my mouth piece out and picked up the cup, if I did, I apologize. It’s water.”
Griffin said those words with a stoic albeit somewhat sarcastic tone. His actions added more fuel to the Clippers-Warriors rivalry after Klay Thompson called Griffin a flopper in a recent radio interview. But that Griffin’s water incident marked his best performance all night. Griffin finished with 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting in only 19 minutes amid persisting foul trouble. He picked up his third foul a mere 39 seconds in the second quarter, his fifth to close out the third period and his sixth with 48.3 seconds left.
“It felt like a regular season game as far as the physicality goes,” Griffin said. “I don’t think it got to that level that we’re used to .. It’s hard to know what you can get away with, and what you can’t. But I have to be smarter in that area and not put us in that situation.”
And as a result, the Clippers lost a focal star beyond the last 48.3 seconds. He also sat out for significant stretches in both the second and third quarter because of his early foul trouble. Griffin sat out the final 11:21 of the second quarter after his third foul. After collecting his fifth foul, Griffin then missed the last 57.8 seconds in the third quarter and nearly the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
“It was tough,” said Clippers guard Chris Paul. “It was huge. Blake is our go-to-guy, contrary to what people may think. We play through BG, as you can see, he’s tough to guard. When our guy only plays 19 minutes, that’s tough. I kept telling him, ‘I need you’, I need you.’ I’m running around with Stephen Curry out there, and he’s resting on the other end and stuff like that. We need to play through Griffin.”
The Clippers initially did late in the game.
Griffin set up Paul’s three-pointer that tied the game at 102-102 with 2:27 remaining. After drawing a foul in the post, Griffin canned a pair of free throws for the 105-105 tie with 1:31 left. But after missing a layup and a putback, Griffin then tacked on his last foul.
“Obviously I wasn’t happy with it,” Griffin said. “After I had time to think about it. I realized I have to be smarter in that situation knowing I had five in that late of a game and that close of a game.”
Griffin should have also been smarter with handling his cup of water.