As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to make their push for a playoff spot, Kobe Bryant & Co. may be getting some help from a very unlikely source. The NBA is expected to suspend Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Serge Ibaka for tonight's Lakers-Thunder game following his actions Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
According to a league spokesman, the NBA is reviewing footage of Ibaka's flagrant (1) foul against Clippers forward, Blake Griffin, where he appears to deliberately land a low blow on the former Slam Dunk champ.
The incident occurred at 1:52 of the fourth quarter as Ibaka, who was fighting for rebounding position, forcefully swung his (right) arm down striking Griffin in the groin area. After the game, the 23-year-old Congolese pleaded his case with the media, claiming it was unintentional.
"He hit my hands away. He's strong, so when he grabs you, your jersey or whatever, and you try to defend yourself and rebound," Ibaka told The Oklahoman. "So maybe you can do some move, not to hurt, (but) just to get good position, but then something happens where you get hurt in the paint. It's not anything where I want to try to hurt him. I'm not that kind of person. I just try to play hard, and that's it."
In the NBA's rulebook, a Flagrant Foul 1 is defined as "unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent."
On the other hand, a Flagrant Foul 2, which clearly what should've been the correct call, is considered "unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent" and an "unsportsmanlike act."
Flagrant-2 violators are subject to a fine of up to $50,000 and/or a suspension by NBA commissioner David Stern. The official announcement should come as early as Monday afternoon.
The Lake Show is currently in the midst of a furious playoff surge, which makes tonight’s road game against the Thunder crucial. The Lakers finds themselves 2 games out of the eighth, 2½ from the seventh and trailing the sixth spot in the Western Conference by 3 games.
How will Stern, who became infamous in So. Cal for blocking the trade that would've made Chris Paul a Laker, rule on this issue?
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