Serge Ibaka Assessed a Flagrant 1 Foul After Brutal Punch on Blake Griffin

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 22:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers watches Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during a 109-97 Thunder win at Staples Center on January 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

I think it's safe to assume that Serge Ibaka and Blake Griffin won't be exchanging holiday cards this year or any year in the distant future. 

With the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder for an important Western Conference game on Sunday, these two athletic forwards were doing battle in a way that would make some WWE pay-per-views jealous. 

It all culminated in this low blow by Ibaka:

And Ibaka wasn't ejected for his actions.

The Thunder big man received a Flagrant 1 foul, but remained in the game. If a blatant punch/slap to the groin, for no apparent reason other than to inflict pain, isn't grounds for an ejection, I'm not sure what is. 

Ibaka actually made some key plays down the stretch as he helped the Thunder (43-16) eek out a 108-104 victory over the Clippers (43-19).  

He may try to come up with some excuse as to why he was striking Griffin in that manner, but this is pretty inexcusable. It is clear this was born from frustration and anger, and that part (the emotion) is understandable. Yet that kind of action can't be tolerated.

Griffin and Ibaka get into some fiery battles. They had this awkward sequence earlier in the season:

This is quickly becoming one of the most exciting one-on-one matchups the NBA has to offer, and there is a good chance there is more to come this season.

While the Thunder have now won all three of the scheduled matchups between these two teams this season, they sit as the second and third seeds in the West and appear to be on a collision course for the playoffs. 

However, whenever these two teams meet again, the league may want to have a little discussion with Griffin and Ibaka—no one needs to see this escalate beyond the insanity this contentious relationship has already found.