Ron Artest, Blake Griffin calls rescinded
LOS ANGELES -- The technical foul and ensuing late-game ejection assessed to both Lakers forward Ron Artest and Clippers forward Blake Griffin in Sunday's 99-92 win by the Clippers were rescinded by the NBA on Monday, according to league spokesman Tim Frank.
"I didn't think I did anything wrong. I would never think I did anything wrong [in that situation]," Griffin said after the Clippers beat the Indiana Pacers on Monday. "I wasn't just trying to hurt anybody. I didn't push off, I just stepped in strong. I didn't run up anybody's back. So yeah, it's good to know that I wasn't fined for that and to know that all that's rescinded."
More on the Lakers
For more news, notes and analysis of the Lakers, check out the Lakers Index. Blog
Artest addressed the issue before the Lakers played the Oklahoma City Thunder later Monday.
"I thought it was a good call," Artest said. "I'm glad it got rescinded, but it was a good call. Make sure nothing escalates. Obviously I'm going to help my teammate. The game's over, we're down nine, five seconds, that was a good ejection."
Artest and Griffin were two of the four players involved in a scuffle with 5.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter along with Lakers forward Lamar Odom and Clippers guard Baron Davis. Odom lined up to rebound a made free throw by Randy Foye that put the Clippers up by nine points. Odom said he felt like Griffin "rammed" him in the back, causing Odom to grab Griffin's jersey and push the rookie backwards. Artest and Davis came to the defense of their respective teammate. Davis engaged in a shouting match with Odom and briefly pushed him, and Artest merely pulled his teammate away from the scrum. After an official's review, all four players were given a technical foul and ejected from the game.
Griffin and Artest will not be subject to the $4,000 penalty that comes with the infraction --$2,000 for the technical and $2,000 for the ejection -- but the fine stands for Odom and Davis.
"I did not want to pay that," Artest said. "More than the technical itself, it was I didn't want to just give away money like that. I could have bought maybe 10,000 In N' Out burgers. I'd rather do that than just give it away."
Both Kobe Bryant and Lakers head coach Phil Jackson suggested in recent weeks that the officials are biased with the way they referee Artest because of his reputation, but the mercurial forward negated that claim.
"I have a good relationship with the referees," Artest said. "Refs are very polite to me. I don't have no problems with no refs. I would like to get some more calls, but maybe I got to practice harder and get better. It's not their fault, it's my fault."
He added there was one particular referee that he does not get along with, but would not identify the official and said that he might not be the only player with the same experience.
"Maybe one guy got to loosen up his Fruit of the Looms," Artest said. "I'm not going to say his name. One guy got tight Fruit of the Looms."
It is the second time in the last week the league has rescinded a call against a Lakers player. The second of the two technical fouls called on Andrew Bynum in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' game against the New York Knicks on Jan. 9 was rescinded as well.
"I think we were kind of warned about that about four years ago when one of our great referees, Joey Crawford, gave a technical and a flagrant foul on a player and said, 'Look it, we were warned by the league. We're just going to let them sort it out. They can review it and sort it out. We're not going to make any mistakes and get chastised for it,'" Jackson said. "So, I think they're very conscious of that.
"Now with [5.7 seconds left] it's pretty hard to imagine anything else or a reason for throwing somebody out of a game, but they were just being over cautious and the league rightfully checked it out and rescinded the technical."
Odom took issue with Griffin's aggressive play considering the game was already out of reach, but Jackson said the rookie did not breach any sort of end of game etiquette.
"There are just some players that play full-out," Jackson said. "Mark Madsen used to be like that all the time. He used to get in practice and guys would be like, 'Come on, Mark, take it easy.' We've had players like that, that have just played hard and maybe Blake's like that. Maybe he's just one of those kids that just plays hard all the time."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.