The Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers locked horns at Staples Center on Wednesday night, and things got a bit heated near the end of the first half. Chris Paul drove the lane and missed a five-footer but Blake Griffin was able to snag the offensive rebound. Griffin then got tangled up with Serge Ibaka and that's when all hell broke loose.
Griffin pinned Ibaka's arm to his body with a chicken wing and pulled him backward. The Serge Protector twisted out of it and swung Griffin away before receiving a prompt shove from Matt Barnes. A scuffling crowd developed among all 10 players on the court before refs intervened, but by then the damage had been done. Which is to say, no damage had been done at all.
No punches were thrown, and no violence was inflicted on anyone after the Barnes shove. But Ibaka clenched his fist. And then he cocked it back. And he had that look in his eye.
Game officials Ken Mauer, Nick Buchert and Scott Wall took a good seven minutes to sort everything out, and in the end they inexplicably handed down some harsh sentences. Ibaka and Barnes were ejected, and a technical foul was given to Griffin.
No offense to Matt Barnes because he can stuff the stat sheet, but he was 0-of-5 shooting on the night. On his way out, though, he did pluck his son from the stands and walked off the court with his identically dressed twins. Two-thirds of it was adorable.
Barnes also showed regret for his precipitating shove with a tweet during the third quarter. That probably was not the best idea and could see something extra tacked on to his inevitable fine. Perhaps Blake Griffin can pass a hat around the locker room and start a collection for him.
Ibaka could be seen asking as he walked to the locker room, "For what? He pushed me first. For what?" For what, indeed. Barnes is useful, but losing Ibaka is a huge blow to OKC up front. The Thunder led 62-53 at halftime, but without "Iblocka" in the middle the Clippers rolled in the second half and outscored OKC by 17 points for a 111-103 victory.
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