The referees just about ruined the last game of the NBA Christmas Day festivities between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers by ejecting one of this game’s biggest stars, Blake Griffin. Let it be known, this is not a rant to favor the NBA’s best players; I am merely trying to get the officials to use common sense in their most important calls.
Just over a minute into the fourth quarter, the referees broke up a second scrum in just a few minutes, this time between Andrew Bogut and Griffin. The altercation was clearly instigated by Bogut, yet the officials deemed Griffin’s retaliation – nothing more than tussling with Bogut in an attempt to be released – to be worthy of a technical foul. Unfortunately for Griffin – and more a travesty for NBA fans who deserved to see a good game between two strong teams – his earlier altercation with Draymond Green resulted in a technical foul as well so his second of the night sent him to the showers early.
I understand the officials are doing their very difficult jobs to the best of their abilities and they followed their protocols as closely as possible, but come on! Let them play! Did Green deserve the flagrant two foul and ejection for elbowing Griffin? Yes. Should Griffin have received the first technical foul for confronting Green and not just walking away? Probably. The issue lies in the NBA officials’ tendency to lean on the double technical foul call. All too often, the referees either only see the retaliating player and punish him for his response to a foul or they take the easy way out and call technicals on both players involved. The latter is precisely what happened to Griffin in the Bogut situation and resulted in fans having to watch these two great teams battle it out in the fourth quarter without one of the game’s most popular and entertaining players.
Thankfully for the fans, the game was close at the time of the Griffin ejection and remained that way until they end. The Warriors managed to pull out a well-fought two-point win and left NBA fans satisfied, but the game would have been better off with Griffin not watching from the locker room. The officials need to give more leniency to the retaliating players in altercations as long as they do not exact revenge with unnecessary force.