Robin Lopez was ejected from the game during the fourth quarter of the Phoenix Suns win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Lopez was called for a flagrant two foul after he hit Griffin to prevent him from getting an easy dunk.
Griffin reported some discomfort in his neck as a result of the play and clearly wasn't happy with getting hit like that. Lopez said he was going for the ball and arms and was trying to prevent a layup.
Here's video of the play and Griffin's comments along with an explanation from Lopez after the jump. Decide for yourself if it was a "cheap" foul. It's too soon to know if the league will consider suspending Lopez.
"It's not the first time. I haven't seen it. It's tough to tell what goes down. It's part of the game. I don't think it's malicious or trying to hurt anybody but after a while it gets pretty frustrating only you've got to keep playing, you can't complain.
"There is a line, there is definitely a line. When it gets crossed -- you know you can push all the way up to the line, the line is pretty fine but once you cross it gets pretty dangerous. That's the way it's been going so...I'll let every individual be the judge of that but I know what I felt and I know what what the impact of the play was.
That playoffs are going to be full of hard fouls, but there's a difference between a hard foul when you're going for the ball or going for someone's head. Yes, you expect hard fouls but not like that."
"I was just going for the ball. He got by my and I was just trying to go for the ball then he got a bit farther (and I) tried to go for his arms.
"It was what it was. It's my job to protect the rim and I tried to go for the ball then I tried to go for his arms."
"People have kind of called Phoenix soft in the past and tonight, I think, we tried to do a good job of being the aggressors I suppose, especially near the end."
"It's on a fast break. He's not a very good free throw shooter so you've got to take that into consideration. I'd rather have him take two free throws from the line where he might miss as opposed to an easy dunk for him."
Personally, I'm long past trying to read intent into the actions of players in situations like this. As Lopez said, he was clearly trying to foul and prevent the easy dunk. But if your Griffin, you can't have people hitting you in the head and neck all the time.
I don't know. It's a tough play with strange angles with Lopez kind of turning and spinning around. Robin clearly grabbed him around the neck but was it intentional, dirty or cheap? You decide.