Sunday during the Oklahoma City Thunder vs Los Angeles Clippers game Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka received a flagrant foul for hitting Blake Griffin below the belt. Ibaka was only assessed a flagrant 1, although from almost every angle it the foul looked intentional and malicious in nature.
Even Kobe Bryant commented on the foul Monday, and when asked what he would have done in that situation Bryant has this to offer:
“I probably would have smacked him in the mouth,” Bryant said Monday at practice.
But what about the, uh, initial pain? Griffin stayed down on the court for a while.
“I would have dealt with the pain afterward,” Bryant said.
The NBA has yet to issue any further punishment to Ibaka, but when they do the result should be a one-game suspension. Ibaka’s foul was a black eye on an otherwise exceptional day of nationally televised basketball. The league offices need to make an example of Ibaka for his ill-advised action since the referees decided not to eject Ibaka on the spot.
If Ibaka is indeed suspended that would hurt the Thunder’s chances of putting a damper on the Los Angeles Lakers playoff chances when they meet in Oklahoma City Tuesday night. Ibaka has emerged as Thunder’s third scoring option in their starting lineup and his shot blocking and post defense is a huge asset for the Thunder against Dwight Howard.
Ibaka needs to be smarter than this. A loss to the Lakers may not hurt the Thunder in the standings but Ibaka is too valuable to what the Thunder do defensively and has become enough of a contributor on offense that the Thunder cannot afford to have him missing games due to his temper getting the better of him.