The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors revisited their increasingly heated rivalry on Wednesday, but they had a hard time staying in the Christmas spirit.
The rising Western Conference powers engaged in a series of scuffles during their Christmas Day matchup, the most notable of which culminated in the ejection of Clippers star Blake Griffin. The 24-year-old forward got into a skirmish with Golden State’s Draymond Green during the third quarter and then was ejected in the fourth quarter after a confrontation with Andrew Bogut, ESPN reports.
Griffin received a second technical foul over his role in the fight with Bogut, resulting in an automatic ejection. But that didn’t stop the Clippers star from stating his strong disagreement with the decision.
"If you look at it, I didn't do anything and I got thrown out of the game. It all boils down to they [the referees] fell for it," Griffin told reporters after the game. "To me, it's cowardly basketball. I don't know their intentions, but it worked. ... If I knew the answer, I'd probably be in a different position. Tonight I got two technicals for nothing."
Hostilities between the two teams continued off the court. A group of players reportedly got into an altercation outside of the Clippers’ locker room, prompting nearby security personnel to intervene, ESPN reports.
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In a postgame interview, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers posited that the Warriors may have deliberately antagonized Griffin. "I don't know if they were, but it sure looked like it. I can't accuse them of that, but it looked like it. I'm not sure, but that's what it looked like," Rivers said, according to ESPN. "It's whatever you have to do to win, I guess."
For the Clippers, the loss of Griffin proved to be too much to overcome. Warriors star Klay Thompson blocked a last-minute shot attempt by Chris Paul, and Jamal Crawford’s follow-up 3-point attempt was off the mark. The Warriors won the game, 105-103. Before he was ejected, Griffin had 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
Do you think Blake Griffin deserved a technical foul for fighting with Andrew Bogut? Sound off in the comments section.
[h/t Complex Sports]