Blake Griffin had 16 technical fouls during the regular season, which tied him with two others – Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City and DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento – for most in the league. How many does Griffin have during 11 post-season games? Not one.
That impresses coach Doc Rivers, who was asked during a conference call Monday how he goes about counseling Griffin to keep his cool. This comes on the heels of Griffin being hit in the groin area by OKC’s Serge Ibaka not long after Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals began Sunday at Staples Center.
“You can just say Zach Randolph,” Rivers said of the Memphis Grizzlies’ forward who punched the Thunder’s Steven Adams in Game 6 of their first-round series, resulting in a one-game suspension, meaning Randolph did not play in Game 7. “It is hard to keep your cool. You’re getting hit, I think at times illegal hits. I think he’s been taking them all year and he’s been doing a great job of it.
“I don’t know if anyone has taken more punishment this year than Blake. In my opinion, some of them have been aboveboard and some of them have not been. People keep getting away with it.”
That said, Griffin must take the high road.
“If he reacts one time, then he hurts the team,” Rivers said. “That’s what I’ve told him all year, that the tougher, stronger guy is the guy that is willing to take the hits for his team and keep playing. That’s what Blake has done, so I’m very proud of him.
“We need him. Teams are trying to do anything they can to get him off the floor, try to get him to react, and he hasn’t done that. He just keeps playing, and that’s really important for us.”
Rivers said he believed the league should look into Sunday’s incident, which Ibaka claimed was accidental because he was pushed from behind by teammate Kendrick Perkins, therefore his open hand flung its way toward Griffin’s groin – landing – causing Griffin to double over in pain.
The league agreed with Ibaka that there was no intent, and there will be no punishment, ESPN.com reported Monday night. It should be noted that Ibaka was fined $25,000
last season for striking Griffin in the groin.
By the way, guess who has the most technicals in this post-season? Griffin’s teammate Chris Paul and five others – including OKC’s Russell Westbrook – have three apiece.