One leap, one forearm shove and one powerful dunk Blake Griffin threw down quickly sent Pau Gasol to the floor.
Before he had even time to process becoming the latest victim on Griffin's dunk posters, Gasol's first instinct involved arguing with you-know-who.
"I was on my [butt], I woke up, I stood up and told the referee I had a ... forearm on my face, on my throat," Gasol said after the Lakers' 113-108 victory Wednesday over the Clippers. "That's something that needs to be looked at."
The officials hardly listened. Count Kobe Bryant as one of the joyful spectators scarcely concerned with not hearing a whistle. He's never shy to jaw with officials and he has the nine technical fouls to prove it. But Bryant wasn't planning to drop a few curse words on Gasol's behalf for one simple reason.
"It was a legitimate dunk," Bryant said with a smile.
Gasol may have held his own against Griffin by limiting him to 15 points on seven-of-16 shooting, but defensive effort came at the expense of taking some beatings. After Randy Foye’s missed three-pointer early in the first quarter, Griffin jumped over Gasol’s back on a tip-back dunk the same way he jumped over a Kia in the 2011 NBA dunk contest. Later in the game, Griffin pushed Gasol from behind as he went up for a rebound.
Bryant boasted that he "would've done the same thing" if he had the chance both to posterize and physically maul an opponent. Even if Gasol stood firm with it, he surely would've liked the officials to intervene.
"He tries to be physical and tries to play his game," Gasol said of Griffin. "I hope he's not intending to be dirty or anything like that. But there were a couple of plays that were extra."