Apr. 19, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin sits on the court in the closing seconds of the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Clippers 93-90. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Do the Clippers need to do more to protect Blake Griffin?

Halfway through the final quarter, Robin Lopez leaped above Blake Griffin on a fast break, and brought him down basically by the neck. Lopez was ejected from the game to a standing ovation by the crowd and the Suns pulled out the game after a series of questionable refereeing. Charles Barkley had comments after the game that Blake Griffin’s teammates had to back him up and foul the Phoenix Suns back, so they understand this behavior won’t be retaliated.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said about the foul, “I thought it was dirty. He was trying to take him down…He is hurt…His neck is bothering him. The league has to do something to protect this kid.”

Or maybe Blake Griffin’s teammates, notably Kenyon Martin and DeAndre Jordan, need to send a message to opposing bigs who play Griffin this way.

Brook Lopez had a different opinion than Del Negro.

“I was just going for the ball,” Lopez said. “Then he got a bit farther, and I went for his arms.
“He’s on a fast break. He’s not a very good free-throw shooter. You’ve got to take that into consideration.”

Lopez may have been going for the ball, but the ball was on the other side of Griffin’s body, Lopez never got near the ball, and then he brought Griffin down by the neck after a one-footed jump. It could have ended a lot more badly for Griffin.

Griffin said, “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.”

Griffin looked dejected after the loss, and possibly frustrated about his teammates lack of support. Mo Williams went after a few Suns players after the foul and received a technical, but it has to be up to the efforts of the Clippers’ larger players to retaliate on Griffin’s behalf. Needless to say, no one is staying up at night over Mo Williams’ imposing physique.

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