Serge Ibaka was assessed a flagrant foul, but amazingly, not assessed a flagrant-2 and the ejection for delivering a clearly intentional low blow on Blake Griffin in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 108-104 victory over the L.A. Clippers Sunday afternoon.
Don't worry, though—the heavy hand of the NBA office is about to come down hard on Ibaka. That'll be a nice piece of poetic justice, considering the force with which Ibaka's fist came down on Griffin's jewels.
The question is: How much discipline is OKC's power forward in for?
To get an idea of what Ibaka's looking at in the punishment department, it's worth checking back on the NBA's most recent low-blow suspension. Last December, Dwyane Wade administered the following martial arts move to Ramon Sessions' groin.
The league penalized D-Wade's unorthodox karate by suspending him for one game, although it should be noted that he wasn't even called for a foul on the play.
With this as our precedent, it seems unlikely that Ibaka will escape without a minimum of a one-game ban. After all, a mere fine just doesn't seem to cut it in situations like this.
Further solidifying the pattern of one-game suspensions for low blows, the league mandated that DeMarcus Cousins sit out for a single contest after cup-checking O.J. Mayo about two weeks before Wade's incident.
The mechanics of Cousins' move are more similar to the ones involved in Ibaka's shot, so maybe that indicates the NBA punishes errant hands and feet equally.
Elbows cost a game, too. Ray Allen nailed Anderson Varejao with a 'bow in 2009, prompting only a one-game suspension. Be cautious—this one really looked like it hurt.
Remember, it wasn't long ago that the league took a softer approach to even the most egregious of low-blow violations. Just ask Reggie Evans, who was simply fined after doing much more than punch Chris Kaman in the man zone during the 2006 playoffs.
So, even though there's a clear standard of a one-game suspension for a shot to the groin, there's actually a good chance Ibaka is looking at more than one game here. First of all, the attack was unprovoked...according to Griffin, anyway.
And secondly, the NBA really can't allow this kind of thing to go on in the future. The game between OKC and the Clippers was nationally televised, and everyone is going to be talking about the dirty play before mentioning the excellent contest itself.
The league needs to clean up these kinds of antics, and the time may be right to increase the penalty. Hey, Griffin's pair sure is hurting, so maybe the NBA will see fit to ding Ibaka for two as well.
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