Mike Brown wants NBA to review Blake Griffin's push on Darius Morris
Mike Brown's mood went from angry to mildly irritated.
He regrets going after the officials for their non-call on Blake Griffin's push on Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris late in the first quarter of the Lakers' 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers. Brown apologized to his team at halftime for earning a technical foul and granting the Clippers an additional free throw. And he hoped losing his cool didn't spark his players to do the same.
After watching the sequence again, however, Brown said after Sunday's practice at the team's facility in El Segundo that he wants the NBA to review the play.
"From what I've been told in a nutshell is that it's OK to push a guy in the air as long as he doesn't get hurt or it doesn't look like he's going to get hurt," Brown said. "It's a judgment call. The whistle clearly had been blown and he's a rookie. Whether he drives to the rim or shoots a jump shot or whatever, you still think that you protect the guy's safety."
Brown insisted Griffin "doesn't seem like a malicious" player, but the replay clearly shows he made contact with Morris. After Clippers guard Chris Paul was called for a foul on Morris, the Lakers rookie drove the lane for the dunk that didn't count. Griffin pushed Morris while he was in the air. Brown then yelled at the officials and appeared intent on walking onto the court, but assistants John Kuester and Chuck Person held him back.
According to the NBA rulebook, "Anyone guilty of illegal contact which occurs during a dead ball may be assessed (1) a technical foul, if the contact is deemed to be unsportsmanlike in nature, or (2) a flagrant foul, if unnecessary and/or excessive contact occurs." Yet, officials Greg Willard, Bennie Adams and Tommy Nunez Jr. didn't call anything against Griffin.
"I don't know what the appropriate response would be," Brown said. "I'm just interested in what the response is."
Still, Brown sounded conflicted on the aftermath. He said he felt guilty for going against the philosophy his preaches to his players: "We control our own destiny; officials don't." Yet, Brown also acknowledged his players, particularly Morris, may appreciate that he stood up for them. And then came this admission.
"If it happened again, I'd do it again," Brown said. "Nobody should be put in the danger that I thought our rookie was. If I can help, I'd do it without giving up the point."
That wasn't the only technical in the game. Lakers forward Matt Barnes was given one late in the second quarter for arguing with an official over a non-call. Lakers forward Metta World Peace and Griffin each received one in the third quarter after getting tangled over a loose ball. And Morris himself picked one up after entering a near-fray involving several Clippers and Lakers forward Josh McRoberts.
Whatever the NBA's response, the games moving forward the two L.A. teams will likely prove to be just as physical.
"The Clippers have gotten a lot better and are a playoff team," Brown said. "They're exciting to watch with Chris Paul and Blake. There's a competitive mix that comes into play now that probably wasn't here in years past. Especially in the first game, there might be some chipiness. To say officials did a good or bad job in that area, I can't say that. I wished we could shoot more free throws than our opponents, but that didn't happen."
-- Mark Medina
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