Blake Griffin flagrant foul leads to Hawks win
Posted on: February 5, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: February 5, 2011 10:37 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Allright, so let's just skip to the chase. 3.3 seconds remaining. The Clippers lead the Hawks by one. Al Horford gets the ball and goes straight for the basket past his man. Blake Griffin goes to intercept. Two high-speed, high-mass objects meeting at a high velocity. KABOOM.
A flagrant foul was called. Al Horford, beyond all reason, nailed both free throws after taking that hit, the Hawks inbounded, ran out the clock, and won the game.
There will be two lines of thought on this. For your convenience, we'll present them both so you can blindly agree with and/or rail against them in the comments.
Option 1: Griffin should not have been assessed a flagrant. He went straight up, made a play on the ball, and gave a good hard foul. You can't punish a guy if he makes an honest attempt at a block and the guy lands hard. What the fans love about Griffin is his intensity and constant fearless nature. He wasn't willing to surrender the bucket like so many terrible NBA defenders, and Horford landed hard. These things happen. In the 80's that wouldn't be a flagrant foul. There was nothing excessive about it, it was just a hard play on the ball. To continue to remove the ability of players to make honest attempts to defend is to mire the league further in flopping and porous defense. Griffin clearly wasn't trying to hurt Horford, but if you want to drive in his lane, you have to be willing to pay the price.
Option 2: Griffin was reckless in his approach, made contact, and followed through. That's what led to the flagrant and the players have to be protected. You'll notice at the .47 mark, Horford lands, flat on his back, with his legs straight in the air, and Griffin's arms landing on top of him. It wasn't just the initial contact that warranted the foul, it was the follow through. Griffin's approach was approximately straight up and down, but in making contact and extending both arms, he was reckless in his approach. You have to manage your intensity with protecting your fellow player. This isn't Chris Bosh complaining about someone diving for a loose ball. This is Al Horford landing flat on his back from a severe height at high velocity, with Griffin pushing down on his chest on the way down. The attempt doesn't have to be intentional to be excessive . Horford could have been severely injured. Griffin can play in such a way as to make people afraid he's going to kill himself. The same can't be said for risking the health of players around him. Good call on the flagrant.