Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin has always done an admirable job restraining himself from retaliating after taking a hard foul, but after getting whacked by Utah Jazz big man Trevor Booker last Friday, Griffin may have reached his breaking point.
Griffin nearly went after the Jazz forward, grabbing the back of Booker's neck before reconsidering any further retaliation:
Griffin said he didn't want to get in any trouble over a preseason game, but he might not stop himself the next time he gets fouled hard, according to Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times:
"It's more about standing up for yourself," he said. "There are times when hard fouls are just a part of the game, and then there's times when they're a little bit further than that."
Rohlin noted just a few of the cheap shots Griffin has taken throughout the course of his career. In 2012, Robin Lopez clotheslined Griffin on a drive to the basket:
Also in 2012, Jason Smith basically shoulder-checked Griffin on a fast break. In 2013, Serge Ibaka took a below-the-belt swing at Griffin while the two were fighting for rebounding position:
And in 2014, Greg Oden shoved Griffin in the chest as he went up for a dunk.
In all of these examples, Griffin showed little interest in retaliating. Griffin has taken some heat for not standing up for himself, and Kobe Bryant even weighed in after the Lopez foul, saying he would have "smacked the f*** out of somebody."
Of course, any type of retaliation would likely hurt the Clippers in the form of a flagrant foul, ejection or suspension. Chris Paul believes his teammate has been extremely selfless by avoiding retaliation, although he also thinks some fireworks may be coming in the future:
"He's getting real close to it," Clippers' point guard Chris Paul said of Griffin retaliating. "I'm glad [he didn't] because we need him. A lot of times in those situations, we need him a lot more than the other team needs the person that usually [fouls him]."
Griffin will surely try and keep his emotions somewhat in check the next time he takes a hard foul, but after everything he has gone through in his career, it would be tough to blame him for finally blowing his top.