The NBA has concluded their review of last night's contentious and testy Clippers-Blazers game and suspended two players. While I applaud the one game suspension of Andre Miller for blindsiding Blake Griffin like he was on a safety blitz, I'm dumbfounded by the severity of of a 2 game suspension for Cook.
And lest I be accused of blatant homerism (which, let's face it, I'm a Clippers fan and I see the world through Clippery lenses), let me point out that in his recap of last night's game, BlazerDave at Blazersedge predicted matter of factly that Cook's Flagrant 2 would be reduced to a Flagrant 1 upon review. So maybe all us SBNation bloggers are just boneheads who don't fully comprehend the rules of this orange ball game. It's also worth noting that the Blazers' TV crew felt that it was not a particularly severe foul (they got their terminology backwards and thought the Flagrant 1 was the harsher penalty, but they described the incident as "less severe" and "nowhere near a 1 [sic - they meant 2]" - that video and audio is below.
John Hollinger in his Daily Dime focusing on the various incidents in this game, felt that the league would likely suspend Cook, based on similar incidents within the last two weeks involving flagrant fouls on Elton Brand and Hilton Armstrong for which Brand and Armstrong were each suspended. I reviewed the video of each of those incidents and remained unconvinced. In each case, the offensive player was significantly more exposed at the time of the foul, and the foul given was significantly harder, with more follow through. As a result, in each case, the fouled player came down much harder.
Here's the Brand foul:
And here's the Armstrong foul:
And here's Cook's foul on Przybilla, courtesy of Blazersedge:
Joel Przybilla / Brian Cook Fight Video (via blazersedgeben)
As you can plainly see, the first two fouls are much more violent, and the refs in each case immediately and without hesitation ejected the culprit. For the officiating crew at least (and the announcers and the bloggers, for that matter), Cook's foul was obviously much less objectionable.
So what does the NBA league office do with a foul, in similar but clearly less severe circumstances a week later? Hand down a more severe penalty, naturally. Brand and Armstrong each got one game suspensions upon review - Cook got two.
Which is bullshit of course, but Stu Jackson has never particularly been known for his consistency. I am constantly amazed at his ability to look at replays and see something that no one else sees. Either he's a complete idiot, mildly psychotic, or he's just constantly punking us. I've tried diligently to make logical sense of this decision, and I cannot.
Now, I'm not particularly lamenting the loss of Brian Cook for two games. He's made some shots lately and I'm far less hostile towards him than I was at the start of the season, but the Clippers' depth is not terribly impacted by his suspension, certainly not against the Kings. They've got Jarron Collins if they want some size out there, of they can go small and put Al-Farouq Aminu at the four if they're just desperate to spread the floor. It's not a big deal from a basketball standpoint. But that doesn't make it any more comprehensible.
I'd love to hear an explanation why Brand and Armstrong each got one game and Cook got two,but of course we never will. Better yet, I'd love to hear the conversation between Jackson and the officiating crew from the game itself.
Monty McCutcheon - Stu, we stopped the game for six minutes to review this situation. I know we're not supposed to deliberate that long, but it was a very difficult decision, not at all clear cut. We watched the video replay multiple times from every angle. In the end, we decided that it was worthy of a Flagrant 2 and not just a Flagrant 1. It was borderline to be certain. That's why we took our time. None of us even considered an immediate ejection, as occurred with Brand and Armstrong.
Jackson - Well I watched it too, and I say Flagrant 2 and a 2 game suspension! And now I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Harvey. He's a six foot rabbit. Anyone care to have a tea party on the ceiling?
Basically, it's tough to figure what goes on in Stu Jackson's head.
Back to Andre Miller for a minute, here's the video of that hit.
Andre Miller no likey Blake Griffin (via brandonmitchellorg)
A quick warning - you might not want to read the comments on this YouTube posting. The video was made by a Blazers fan (who seems like a reasonable sort and commented here at Clips Nation this morning), and his conclusion ("Blake Griffin didn't push Andre Miller for the rest of the game :)" ) was way too smug, but personally I'm happy to see the supposed transgressions that led to Miller going free safety on Griffin. Because, really, what the hell? Miller is trying to box out Blake Griffin and he got a little shovey wovey? There's a reason the refs didn't call a foul on Blake Griffin for either of those pushes - because they were nothing. I really hope that Blake also said something about Miller's mom being a terrorist or something, because if these pushes are the supposed justification for Miller's retaliation, he should seek counseling. It's all very strange. I can't imagine that Andre Miller has torpedoed every player that ever nudged him twice in a game, because he would not have a 600 consecutive game streak if he did.
A stray thought occurred to me through all of this. With the possible exception of Elton Brand, I can't think of a former Clipper who is more widely despised in Clips Nation than Miller. And as opposed to Brand, Miller earned his scorn as much for his on court performance as anything else. His productivity dropped off the table in his single season in LA, and to those of us who watched, it was clear that the decline was due almost entirely to the fact that he didn't give a shit.
So it occurred to me, maybe Andre Miller just hates the Clippers - like really, really hates them. You're talking about a guy who was born and raised in LA. He was 8 years old when the Clippers moved here, which happened to be at the beginning of the Lakers. Did he grow up loving the Lakers, looking upon the Clippers as a joke? He wouldn't be the first adolescent male in LA to feel that way. You know, when players sign with the Clippers, they invariably at least SAY all the right things about wanting to help change the culture and build a winner (they often say very different things when they're leaving) . But it's not inconceivable that someone might truly have an aversion to playing for such a traditionally moribund franchise. It would be ridiculously unprofessional, but not overly surprising.Johnson era for the
Still, imagine if Paul Pierce had pouted and sulked when he was drafted by the Celtics, a kid who grew up in Inglewood and attended Inglewood High. If you're job is to play basketball, you do the job you're paid to do. And now Pierce is a Celtic great.
I'm just speculating here, but the fact is that Andre Miller has, with this cheap shot, cemented his place among the most hated players in the NBA to the Citizens of Clips Nation, and he has more than earned his lofty position.