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Stu Jackson: Griffin fooled Ibaka into hitting him

According the Marc Stein, the NBA league office says Serge Ibaka escaped a suspension because he was aiming at Griffin's arm which was pulled away. What replay were they watching?

Ibaka was aiming for Durant's face, but accidentally gave him a high five.
Ibaka was aiming for Durant's face, but accidentally gave him a high five.
Stephen Dunn

From Marc Stein's Weekend Dime comes a hint of an explanation as to why Serge Ibaka was not suspended for his low blow on Blake Griffin when what seemed to be be less severe situations were met with suspensions. Stein writes:

Some checking with the league office this week revealed that Stu Jackson & Co. deemed Ibaka's contact with Griffin's, uh, groin area to be unintentional. The league view, I'm told, is that Ibaka was slapping at an arm that Griffin unexpectedly pulled away, leading to the painful connection and thus distinguishing the play from the "groin altercations" that earned Wade and DeMarcus Cousins suspensions earlier this season.

And I'm going to have to go ahead and call bullshit on that.

That explanation is far worse than no explanation at all, because frankly I see no way that you can watch the video and conclude that Ibaka was trying to hit Griffin's arm. Griffin pulled his arm away? Away from where? For that explanation to make sense, wouldn't Griffin's arm have had to be in front of his crotch? At exactly what point in that play was Griffin's arm in front of his crotch? The answer is it wasn't, it was never anywhere near his crotch, it was never in front of his body. If Ibaka had swung at Griffin's arm and missed it, he would have gotten air, a fact that is plainly obvious from the video.


Ibaka is holding Griffin's arm until the time that he releases it to take a very intentional swing, and he swings far past Griffin's arm and hit's him squarely below the belt. You could argue that he wasn't aiming at Griffin's kibbles and bits, that he wanted to hit him in the gut or the thigh or something, but the arm? Ibaka is the best shot blocker in the league, and last I checked shot blocking required some pretty good hand eye coordination and body control. When was the last time Serge Ibaka went up to block a shot and hit himself in the side of the head instead, because that's how badly he would have to miss to explain this incident as unintentional.

I didn't really think the league office could make themselves look worse on this, but if this is their story, then they have proven me wrong. What a joke.