An apparent cheap shot by Serge Ibaka against Blake Griffin proved quite costly.
With the Clippers trailing the Thunder, 99-93 with less than two minutes remaining on Sunday, Matt Barnes cut the OKC lead to three with a 3-pointer from the corner. While Barnes' shot was in the air, Ibaka dropped Griffin to the floor with a chop to the groin.
After reviewing the play, the officials declared the cheap shot a flagrant foul type 1, giving Griffin two foul shots and then possession to L.A. A flagrant foul type 2 would have resulted in an ejection.
Although Griffin made just one of the free throws, Jamal Crawford knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the ensuing possession to give the Clippers the 100-99 lead. All told, that was a painful but productive 7-point trip down the floor for the home team at the Staples Center.
Thanks in large part to a strong closing kick (mercifully not to anyone's groin) from Russell Westbrook and a key rejection by Ibaka in the final seconds, the Thunder escaped L.A. with a 108-104.
Ibaka's low blow elicited a strong reaction on Twitter. Will it generate a response from NBA HQ in New York?