It’s not often we see a coach being held back by his team from going after an opposing player, but things got chippy in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 111-94 win in Denver. The scuffle—limited to a verbal one—was sparked by Griffin’s displeasure with the Nuggets’ “Hack-A-DJ” strategy, and damned if intentionally fouls haven’t made us all want to throttle a coach at one time or another.
DeAndre Jordan took 10 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, as the Nuggets repeatedly slapped at him to send him to the line. With three-plus minutes left, Griffin said something to Malone while Jordan took his free throws. That got Griffin a technical. With just under two minutes remaining, after Jordan threw down an alley-oop dunk and the Nuggets called a timeout, Griffin and Malone walked past each other and exchanged words. Malone was surrounded by his players and assistants, and earned himself a technical. Griffin said...well, I hope you can’t read lips:
Hacking DeAndre Jordan is a good strategy, if not a foolproof one. He had 18 points last night, going 12 of 25 from the line, including four of 10 in the fourth quarter. Mike Malone doesn’t like it, but if it’s effective, what the hell else is he supposed to do?
“They were frustrated with us fouling DeAndre,” Malone said. “And, trust me, I’m not a fan of it. But it’s a rule you can use, and we felt that we had a better chance of fouling him than allowing them to take a shot. So we went to it. I think they were frustrated with that, some words were exchanged and that’s what happened.”
Malone, who’s surely frustrated by Denver’s four-game losing streak (during that last timeout, he berated rookie Emmanuel Mudiay, who gave back as good as he got), said afterward he owes the Clippers an apology. Griffin merely and ominously said “It will be taken care of.”