Posted by Royce Young
In case you missed it, the Lakers beat the Clippers by a point last night on a last-second Derek Fisher layup. A lot of things contributed to that, including rookie Eric Bledsoe not stopping the ball at all and completely relying on a help defender to bail him out.
But what if Fisher's layup was just to tie the game instead? Well, there was that possibility. Instead, because of a call in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Lakers were gifted with an extra point. Watch:
Now of course I'm not so dense to think that things couldn't have changed throughout the game. But it's not like the call swung momentum or anything. Basically, it was a simple, free point gifted to the Lakers. It was the second delay of game call against the Clips, which is an automatic technical. Shannon Brown walked to the other end, hit the free throw and the Lakers led 75-73 instead of 74-73. And of course, the Clippers lost 86-85.
Griffin was guilty too. By the rule, he's supposed to give it right back to the official. He didn't. He chucked up another free throw. Phil Jackson in all his Phil Jackson-ness complained, and got the call. (Watch him pop right up off the bench and start hollering at the official for the call. The official thinks for a moment and then whistles Griffin. Interesting how influential coaches can be.)
But how many times could delay of game be called throughout a typical NBA game? Ten times? Fifteen? Fifty? Kevin Garnett made goaltending a jumper after the whistle famous, but the guy that took the jumper should be nailed with a delay, right? Isn't that basically what Griffin did?
Again, no denying what it was. Griffin should know better. Chalk it up to a rookie mistake if you want, but really, every player does it. I've seen guys pull exactly what Griffin did a hundred times with no whistle. Most times they don't go all the way through and throw the ball back at the iron though. I guess the credit goes to Phil Jackson for making the officials aware that he was aware.
In the end, that point was costly. Maybe Fisher's layup sends the game into overtime instead of the Lakers to victory without it. Maybe not. But regardless, I'm sure this was a nice little lesson for Griffin. And one that the master, Phil Jackson, taught him.