Blake Griffin shouldn't have been ejected, NBA says in statement

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has admitted that the referees got it wrong with Blake Griffin and Andrew Bogut's brief Christmas scuffle.

The NBA has released a statement on Thursday with Rod Thorn, the league's president of basketball operations, saying that Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin should not have been ejected in the team's loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night:

"After a league review of the Clippers-Warriors game, we have come to the conclusion that Blake Griffin should not have been ejected from the game.  A common foul should have been called on Griffin for initially attempting to dislodge the Warriors' Andrew Bogut and a technical foul should have been assessed to Bogut for grabbing Griffin by the shirt and wrestling with him."

In case you missed the incident, here is how Griffin, who had received another questionable technical foul earlier in the game, got ejected:

In response to Thorn's statement, everyone who was watching says a collective "duh." As ESPN color commentator Jon Barry repeated about a million times on the broadcast, it should have been patently obvious that Griffin did not initiate the tussle with Bogut and did not deserve to receive a technical foul. The fact that this removed a marquee player from a tightly contested showcase game on Christmas with 10:43 remaining made the mistake all the more maddening.

The game was tied at the time and the Warriors went on to escape with a 105-103 win. Without Griffin, fans were still gifted a thrilling finish featuring a battle between star point guards Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. Still, one couldn't help but wonder how it might have been different with Griffin in the game. He had 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes before the ejection.

While it's nice that the league has admitted the call was wrong, it remains a mystery how the three referees on the court came to their conclusion after a lengthy replay review.

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