Sunday's Western Conference showdown between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder was a good reminder for everyone about the importance of bringing the right gear to the basketball court.
In a wildly entertaining back-and-forth battle, the two teams combined for 48 fouls, two technical fouls and a flagrant 1 that put Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in a new, unsavory light.
And kept Clippers big man Blake Griffin as the clear comedic leader in today's game. Even if it surely felt worse than it looked...and it looked bad.
Somehow, Ibaka claimed no intent in the incident (according to John Rohde of The Oklahoman)
He hit my hands away. He's strong, so when he grabs you, your jersey or whatever, and you try to defend yourself and rebound. So maybe you can do some move, not to hurt, (but) just to get good position, but then something happens where you get hurt in the paint. It's not anything where I want to try to hurt him. I'm not that kind of person. I just try to play hard, and that's it.
It's hard to watch Ibaka's groin chop (period) and not think that this was his desired outcome. An inadvertent elbow is one thing—this was quite another.
And that's what made things so interesting when the league opted to only fine Ibaka $25,000 (via NBA.com). After all, Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins had landed a similar low blow on Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo and received a one-game suspension for his actions.
Griffin's teammate, Matt Barnes, took to Twitter to voice his opinion over the apparent inconsistencies from the league's disciplinary office:
You can INTENTIONALLY grab or hit someone in the balls & not get suspended, but you push someone & get suspended. #ImConfused— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) March 5, 2013
Griffin also went to Twitter, but for an entirely different reason.
He reminded everyone that he's the greatest showman in the business, and that has nothing to do with his nightly aerial assaults:
Kid Blake: Who are you? Future Blake: you from the future... Don't listen to anything else I've told you just start wearing a cup.— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) March 6, 2013
Ibaka got the early laugh, as his Thunder escaped Staples Center with a 108-104 victory.
But Griffin's tweet had everyone laughing, not to mention helping him line his pockets with even more interest in his popular Kia Optima commercials.