"I'm definitely sick of taking hard hits... I'm sick of it, but it’s going to keep on happening."
That's what Blake Griffin told the Orange County Register during Monday's shootaround while discussing the many fouls he has taken this season. The Clippers' All-Star is right. They're not stopping. The hits continued to happen on Friday night when the Los Angeles Clippers went on the road to take on the Phoenix Suns.
Griffin seemed to absorb yet another knock late in the third quarter when he and Jared Dudley both went after a tipped pass. Upon further review, however, Dudley didn't seem to actually foul the dunking machine hard. But after the contact that did occur, Griffin appeared to embellish the collision -- something that he has been developing a reputation for doing. After Griffin jerked his body back, Dudley raised his arms up (as if to signal to the refs that he believed Griffin had flopped). The Suns' fifth year swingman then approached Griffin and bumped him with his chest and simply asked, "What' up?"
With the Clippers leading by three later during the fourth quarter, Mo Williams led a three-on-two fast break and dished the ball to Griffin on his left. Just after he took flight, Suns center Robin Lopez delivered a brutal foul and followed through with his right arm to take Griffin out of the play. Lopez was called for a flagrant-2 and was ejected from the game.
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The Suns went on to win by three. Following the loss, Charles Barkley vented on TNT's Inside the NBA about Griffin's overall game.
"You got to get better as a basketball player because they can't go to you with he game on the line," he said. "You got develop your offensive skills before you can go to the next level."
Then Barkley suggested a way of handling the beating Griffin receives each game: Hit back.
"You've got to stop them from hitting that boy," Barkley said turning his attention to Griffin's teammates. "You've got to tell them, 'Hey man, if somebody hit me, you take one of their guys out too.' Somebody on your team has got to protect you."
But if Griffin really wants to reduce the hits he takes without resulting to more violence, he might want to consider taking this skill out of his game. Until he does, his opponents will likely argue about how many hits he really does take.