Serge Ibaka says he was not trying to hurt Blake Griffin with groin punch
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka received a flagrant-1 foul on Sunday when he hit Blake Griffin near the groin (video of the play here) during his team’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers. It is unclear whether Ibaka hit Griffin in the man region or not, but it certainly looked like the swing itself was intentional.
After the game, Ibaka insisted that he was not trying to hurt Griffin.
“He hit my hands away,” Ibaka told reporters, via The Oklahoman. “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.
“I just tried to play hard. I really don’t care if someone is dirty or not, that’s not my problem. His game was intense. We all were complaining to the referees (about) some dirty stuff. It’s basketball. We just played. If you can see the replay, you can see he grabbed my jersey first so I wanted to try to defend myself, (but) not to hurt him.”
The two were certainly fighting for position and grabbing at one another while attempting to box out, but it looked like Ibaka took it too far. As we mentioned before, Griffin has become known for flopping so it’s hard to tell if he was really hurt as badly as it appeared.
“I guess it’s a chippy game like that every time we play,” Griffin said. “We’re both pretty physical teams with physical bigs. There was a lot of pushing and all that going on down low.”
The Thunder and Clippers could very well meet in the playoffs in a few months, so we could be in for plenty more post battles and flagrant fouls.