When the Phoenix Suns welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to town Wednesday evening, they’ll do so a bit short-handed.
While guard Eric Bledsoe will return to the hardwood after a 33-game hiatus, the Suns will be without the services of starting small forward P.J. Tucker.
The third-year pro out of Texas was involved in a scuffle with Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin in Monday night’s 112-105 loss at the 5:28 mark of the fourth quarter, and subsequently was issued a personal foul and the first ejection of his NBA career.
Griffin and Tucker initially got tangled up jostling for position in the paint on a rebound attempt of Matt Barnes’ missed three-point try. The two took each other to the floor with Griffin seemingly pressed on top of Tucker’s body.
From there the particulars are a bit unclear.
Tucker appeared to try and push Griffin off with his right forearm, a movement that for whatever reason caused Griffin to respond with a noticeable head jerk. The multiple replays didn’t appear to provide a clear cut example of Tucker’s forearm landing anywhere above Griffin’s chest, however officials deemed the action worthy of punishment.
And they weren’t alone.
Tuesday, NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn issued the 28-year-old a one-game, unpaid suspension for his involvement in the alteration. Griffin, meanwhile, was not assessed any type of fine or punishment.
Tucker has started all 63 games this season, averaging career-highs in points (9.4) and rebounds (6.4) per game.