New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith looked like he should wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey when he took out Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin in with a brutal flagrant foul in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game.
Chris Paul had stolen the ball and started a fast break, passing it to Griffin past half court. As Griffin was about to take flight, Smith charged directly at him. Appearing to lower his shoulder, Smith drilled the high-flying All-Star to the hardwood. Smith's momentum carried him behind the basket as Griffin's teammates followed. Former Hornets' star Chris Paul led the charge after Smith, pointing his finger while shouting at him. Clippers DeAndre Jordan and Randy Foye also went over to say something to Smith as Griffin remained on the floor in pain.
Despite the anger of Griffin's teammates, Smith managed to walk away toward the Hornets' bench. As Griffin got up and made it back his team's bench, the Los Angeles broadcasters began making football comparisons.
"It's like a linebacker taking out a tight end who doesn't see it coming," said Clippers announcer Mike Smith. "There's just no place in the NBA for a play like that."
After watching the replay, the referees ruled the foul a Flagrant 2 and ejected Smith. In somewhat of a disturbing turn, Hornets fans gave Smith a standing ovation as he walked toward the locker room. Perhaps just as unsettling, Smith raised up his hands in triumph.
According to Jim Eichenhofer of Hornets.com, Smith apologized to Griffin after the Hornets' 97-90 win saying, "I didn't want to give him an easy layup (but) there are a ton better ways to go about it."
"They should know better. Especially here in New Orleans where they're having all sorts of bounty problems with the football team," the Clippers announcer said regarding the fan reaction, citing the recent severe punishments handed down to the Saints by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for running a bounty program that was said to have targeted opponents with intent to injure.
Will David Stern take a page out of Goodell's book and discipline Smith further? Should he?