With 6.2 seconds remaining in the first half of Wednesday night’s matchup at Staples Center between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, Matt Barnes and Serge Ibaka got into a little skirmish following Ibaka’s foul on Blake Griffin. After a missed five-footer by Chris Paul, Griffin got the offensive rebound and went back up for a shot under the basket when a foul was called on Ibaka. Griffin then pinned Ibaka’s arm to his body, forcing Ibaka to push Griffin away. Matt Barnes immediately shoved Ibaka, forcing the refs to eject the two and give Griffin a technical foul.
The ejection, unfortunately, did not stop Matt Barnes from voicing his opinion. Rather, tweeting his opinion.
Barnes would delete the tweet soon afterwards, but once something is on the Internet, it can never vanish completely. Although Barnes was clearly upset for having to stick up for his teammates, his actions did help the Clippers turn a nine-point halftime deficit into an eight-point victory.
Oklahoma City’s defense fell apart in the second half. Without Ibaka, or Kendrick Perkins who missed the game due to a family emergency, calling the front line of the Thunder thin would be an exercise in understatement. First half points in the paint: Thunder 36, Clippers 24. Second half points in the paint: Clippers 28, Thunder 16. Ibaka’s ejection changed the entire makeup of the game.
At the time of the ejection, Ibaka was 6-for-6 in the game for 13 points. Barnes was 0-for-5.
“It was a physical game and anything can happen,” said Ibaka after the game. “But the referee made the decision so I will take it. I didn’t see the video after that so I will try to make sure and watch it…I was really disappointed. I will learn from my mistake, and all I can do now is be focused about tomorrow’s game.”
Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images
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