What did the five fingers say to the face? SUSPENSION! At least, if the face in question is Timofey Mozgov’s, and the five fingers are Blake Griffin’s, and the five fingers need ten more to count the number of technical fouls that Blake already had. From an official NBA press release:
The Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin has received a one-game suspension without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the 2013-14 season, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.
Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended for an additional game.
Basketball-wise, Griffin’s suspension will have little impact. It’ll leave him a little lighter in the wallet, of course, but Blake was staying home tonight anyway. And on the surface, that’s a little strange. The 2 seed in the Western Conference is still in play for the Clippers, which would mean homecourt advantage in a potential second round series with the Thunder. Though the 3 seed has advantages of its own — namely, playing the Golden State Warriors, who will be without Andrew Bogut — I’m not sure that avoiding the Dallas Mavericks is worth giving up that homecourt edge against the Thunder. Dallas is a fantastic offensive team, and head coach Rick Carlisle will scheme his team to maximum effectiveness on defense. How high, really, is their ceiling on that end of the court? They’re a bottom-10 defensive team on the season; all the film study in the world likely can’t buoy them any higher than average. The Clippers, in turn, can match the Mavericks point for point while also deploying an above-average defense, albeit one that breeds the type of skepticism that greets any team yet to “prove” itself in the trying fires of the postseason.
That’s all probably a step removed from baser instincts here. Blake could use the rest, and the Clippers are good enough to win without him against a Portland team that isn’t playing for much. Everything else is divine machinations beyond the control of Doc Rivers and his players, so why fret about it? Do what’s best for the team, and rest your star. Or, even better, let the league do it for you.