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Did Robin Lopez's foul on Blake Griffin cross the line? [Video]

April 20, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin

Blake Griffin's style of play has recently drawn the ire of some of his colleagues around the league.

His spectacular high-flying dunks are constantly replayed on SportsCenter, embarrassing his victims on an almost nightly basis. He's accused of getting away with offensive fouls. He's criticized for flopping.

Has his perception around the league left him susceptible to being the recipient of some unusually nasty fouls? When the Clippers played Phoenix on Thursday evening, it sure seemed that way.

When the Clippers were on a fast break in the fourth quarter, Mo Williams dribbled downcourt and dished the ball to Griffin, who leaped toward the basket off of one leg. As Griffin flew through the air en route to a dunk, Suns center Robin Lopez grabbed Griffin's neck from behind, sending the Clippers power forward tumbling to the ground.

Lopez made no attempt to go for the ball. He made no attempt to run in front of Griffin. It was a tasteless, thuggish play that earned Lopez a flagrant two foul.

According to The Times' Brad Turner, Griffin suffered a strained neck from the grab.

"You can push all the way up to that line. The line is pretty fine," Griffin said. "Once it gets crossed, it becomes real dangerous, I guess. But that's the way it's been going."

Some players believe that Griffin has teetered dangerously toward that line a few times.

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins recently told Sports Illustrated that Griffin is an "actor" and is "babied" by the league.

Lakers forward Pau Gasol said that when Griffin dunked on him in early April, he stuck his "forearm on my face, on my throat."

Gasol also felt as though Griffin celebrated the jam a bit too much.

Said Gasol: "When you make a great play, obviously there's a lot of emotions and I understand the excitement of it," Gasol said. "But at the same time, you have to be respectful too. Otherwise, you probably will instigate retaliation or a bad, violent reaction. So you have to be careful with that. But that's just me."

The Clippers made the playoffs this season for the first time since 2006. In the postseason, when players' intensity and level of physicality reaches a feverish pitch, will Griffin be the subject of retaliation?

In an interview after Thursday's game, Chris Paul explained what may have been the motivation behind Lopez's foul.

"He didn't want to get dunked on so he decided to do something crazy," Paul said. 

For the Clippers' sake, hopefully other players won't have that same mentality.


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