Mavs confused with J.J. Barea's ejection after Blake Griffin push

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks were dumbfounded by guard J.J. Barea being called for a flagrant foul 2 and ejected after pushing Blake Griffin during Thursday's 97-95 win over the LA Clippers.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle implied that Griffin, a 6-foot-10, 251-pound power forward, flopped after exchanging shoves with the diminutive Barea, who was trying to fight through a Griffin screen with 5:29 remaining in the third quarter.

"Watching Griffin's cat-ate-the-canary smile tells you the story of that play," Carlisle said. "That's all you have to look at."

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki called Barea's ejection "just weak" and complained about the confusion regarding what constitutes a flagrant foul.

"It's tough to tell these days in this league what's a flagrant 1, what's a tech," Nowitzki said. "I'm lost, and I think so are the refs."

After a lengthy review, the referees ruled that Barea's shove with his right forearm was excessive and unnecessary, prompting an ejection that left the Mavs' reserve point guard laughing as he exited the court.

"The contact was to the shoulders and above the throat," crew chief Bill Spooner said to a pool reporter. "That is deemed as a flagrant penalty 2."

Spooner declined to say whether he believed Griffin flopped on the play.

"That is not really relevant to our judgment of the play," Spooner said. "It has nothing to do with the merits of the play."

Griffin was not asked about the play after the loss, which caused the Clippers to fall 1.5 games behind the Utah Jazz in the fight for the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

Barea, who had a heated exchange with Griffin immediately after the shove but made peace with him during the review, shrugged off the call.

"I just gave him a little push and he landed way far over there," Barea said. "That's what happens. No big deal."

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