Christmas Day's basketball games were a complete dud. Except for that finale, a doozy of a two-point win for the Warriors thanks to Stephen Curry's late-game layup. Chris Paul could not match and that was that.
The story in Oakland though was who was not on the floor in those final moments. That was Blake Griffin. He was ejected after picking up two technical fouls in teh second half after getting into one showving match with Draymond Green (ejected for a Flagrant-2 foul). He then got into another shoving match with Andrew Bogut. The referees handed out double technical fouls and Griffin was gone.
The NBA has since released a statement saying Griffin should not have been ejected and should have only been given a common foul for this play:
Everyone else can judge that.
Clearly though, the Warriors got under the Clippers' skin. And that certainly led to Golden State finding a way to win the game.
If that was not evidence enough, wait until you hear what was said after the game.
Griffin called out the Warriors for their play against him in that fourth quarter and the way they tried to bend the rules, at least in Griffin's mind, in their favor. Blake Griffin called the Warriors "cowardly" after the game:
To be honest, I thought I got two technicals for nothing. It all boils down to they [officials] fell for it. I think it's cowardly basketball.
This, of course, coming from Blake Griffin who himself is known for some histrionics and "floppish" play. Some would call that basketball "cowardly" as well.
The reality is though that in today's NBA, what Griffin did was a technical foul. NBA officials usually issue double technicals in these scrums pretty regularly and let the league office sort out whether they should have actually been assessed or not. Griffin was a victim of this atmosphere in the league and should have been more careful with one technical foul already on his ledger.
Rightly or wrongly, this is how NBA officials officiate and that is not going to change — not while the fight remains etched in our memories.
Andrew Bogut, who drew the technical foul on Griffin with his physical play, took the whole thing in stride, going with the "scoreboard" defense. Wins are all that matter, I guess.
We're just trying to win the game. We did whatever it took to win the game. We made the big plays toward the end. Everyone's entitled to their opinions and comments and we're not really affected by that. We'd rather be called cowards and come out with the win.
The Warriors and Clippers have now gotten into scuffles in two meetings so far this season. Their next matchup is Jan. 30 back in Oakland. We cannot wait.