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Clippers swear to protect Blake Griffin in the playoffs

By Matt Moore | NBA writer
The NBA has a bit of a situation on its hands.

No one in the NBA likes getting dunked on. Blake Griffin dunks on many, many people. The best way to stop someone from dunking on you is to hit them very hard, preferably in the face. People hit Blake Griffin very hard, often in the face. The only way to protect your teammate if he keeps getting hit very hard, often in the face is to hit someone on the other team very hard.

You see where this is going.

The Clippers have taken criticism for allowing the constant hammering of Griffin, particularly after Robin Lopez tried to decapitate him slow him down in the Clippers' loss to the Suns. TNT's Charles Barkley was particularly critical of the Clippers' lack of retaliation.

ESPN reports that the Clippers have no interest in letting the trend continue, which means things are going to get heated however long the Clippers are in the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Clippers are tired of seeing Blake Griffin take hard fouls and have vowed to protect their All-Star forward if it continues.

"I feel like people are intentionally trying to hurt him," Clippers center DeAndre Jordan said. "It'll all come back around."

...

"If Blake gets fouled, I can't go punch someone in the nose," Jordan said. "We can't do that but throughout the course of a game, other fouls happen to other players on the opposite team and if they happen to be hard fouls, they happen to be hard fouls. We're going to protect our teammates; it doesn't matter who it is."

via Los Angeles Clippers' DeAndre Jordan vows to protect Blake Griffin; Vinny Del Negro dismisses criticism - ESPN Los Angeles.

Vinny Del Negro also told ESPN that criticism is a little uneducated because it doesn't take into account the rule changes put into place for excessive fouls, technicals, and fights. Players no longer face just fines, but significant suspensions and points towards more suspensions for their behavior. Which means Jordan taking a whack at someone who takes a whack at Griffin winds up being a bigger problem than the original whack. So to speak.

The league is facing a significant dilemma and is going to have to establish a Griffin policy. The players can't legislate their own contact regarding Griffin because of the aggressiveness of his play and the rule changes. Teams aren't going to stop taking shots at him. Griffin says he's not worried about the playoffs, because he's already taking hits.

He's about to learn there is a difference between regular season and postseason, unless the Clippers move to protect him.

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