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P.J. Tucker suspended one game by NBA for striking Blake Griffin (video)

Phoenix Suns guard/forward P.J. Tucker has been suspended one game without pay by the NBA for elbowing Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin during Monday night’s game.

While Tucker and Griffin jockeyed for position on a rebound during the Clippers’ 112-105 win, the two became entangled and ended up going to the floor, with Griffin on top of Tucker.

As Griffin attempted to free himself from the scrum, Tucker appeared to take a swing at the Clippers power forward, as his forearm made contact with Griffin’s chin/neck area. While Griffin looked to retaliate for the shot as the two began to scuffle before teammates entered the fray to separate them, only Tucker was assessed a foul on the play and was ultimately also assessed a technical foul and ejected.

Tucker attempted to downplay the incident after the game, quoted in the Arizona Republic as saying, “Just playing hard,” before adding, “No comment. Just playing hard. That’s it.”

Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek saw things a bit differently than the referees, arguing Griffin was the instigator.

“He was standing there and Blake takes him to the ground and rolls on top of him and he just tries to get him off,” Hornacek said. “I don’t know why that would be a suspension,” Hornacek said. “That shouldn’t even have been a foul.”

Griffin, meanwhile, attempted to downplay the melee.

“We got tangled up, went down and, you know, took a little forearm,” Griffin said. “But it happens. I’ll let someone else handle that.”

And the NBA did handle it. Tucker will sit out Phoenix’s game on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The suspension without pay will cost him approximately $8,000.

(GIFs via @cjzero)