Clippers' Vinny Del Negro still upset about flagrant foul on Blake Griffin

The coach is upset that Robin Lopez of the Suns was not suspended for his hit on Griffin in a game Thursday. Lopez was ejected from the Clippers game but played Saturday.

April 22, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers power forward Blake Griffin heads toward the bench for treatment after crashing to the court when he was fouled during a driving layup by Suns center Robin Lopez in the second half Thursday night in Phoenix.
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin heads toward the bench for treatment… (Matt York / Associated Press )

Three days later, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro still was upset about the flagrant 2 foul Suns reserve center Robin Lopez committed against Blake Griffin on Thursday night in Phoenix.

Del Negro is not happy that Lopez wasn't suspended by the NBA. Lopez, who was ejected from the game against the Clippers, played in the Suns' next game on Saturday night.

"I do have an issue with how Blake got hit that hard and he's in pain and he's still in pain and the player that did that played yesterday," Del Negro said. "I have a problem with that. So, I'm not exactly sure how the league wants us to deal with that, because then it'll get out of hand."

Del Negro said he's opposed to Griffin, who played Sunday night against New Orleans despite a stiff neck, or other Clippers trying to retaliate.

Committing hard fouls under the rules is one thing, but it's another when the player doesn't go after the ball and instead commits bodily harm, Del Negro said.

"Obviously with Blake, they are going to try to put him at the free-throw line, they are going to try to take him out of the air," Del Negro said. "As long as it's clean, we're fine with it and Blake is fine with it. But when it gets not to be a basketball play, that's where the league I think needs to step up and do something in terms of making a statement. Not just for Blake, but for any player."

Pondering the rotation

During the regular season, Del Negro has used a 10-man rotation.

There have been times when he has used only eight in certain games, but for the most part, Del Negro has found a way to get his players some time.

When the playoffs start Saturday, Del Negro will have to decide how many players to use.

"I don't know if we're there yet," Del Negro said. "I think the rotation has been pretty consistent in what we're trying to do. But it just depends on foul trouble, injuries or health issues. As the playoffs come around, you're going to have a day in between [games], at least, so you're going to be able to extend some of the starters' minutes a little bit.

"It comes down to matchups and adjustments at times. But also I think we need to continue to keep the rotation intact in terms of getting some guys some minutes out there and get a rotation and try to be as consistent as possible like we've tried to do lately."


The Clippers recalled rookie guard Travis Leslie from the Development League's Bakersfield Jam on Sunday. ... Nick Young didn't play because of flu symptoms.

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