"He hit me with a couple of dirty picks early on and I told him to watch it, then he laughed and he hit me with another one," Barnes said. "I kind of lost my control, which I apologized to the team for. There's no excuse for that, but luckily it sparked the team."
Officials reviewed the play and gave Barnes a flagrant foul-2, which brings an automatic ejection.
"He kind of ran through me on the first one, so I figured he'd do the same on the second one," Stiemsma said. "I didn't know he was going to take it that far. That's what I'm out there to do, set screens and be physical and some guys just take it over the top."
Moments later, Stiemsma flattened Hill when he went up for a rebound under the basket. Butler and Ronny Turiaf forcefully confronted Stiemsma, drawing technical fouls of their own. J.J. Barea hit both free throws for a 37-28 lead.
Stiemsma said he was hit in the face on the play and didn't know Hill was there when he pushed back.
"I wasn't retaliating," Stiemsma said. "I just felt a hit to the face and he just went to the floor."
The outburst did seem to ignite the Clippers, who went on a 37-15 surge over the next 11 minutes to take control. Griffin flexed his muscle down low, getting Derrick Williams to pick up five fouls in 13 minutes while he attacked the offensive glass.
"We've got a bunch of nice guys, but I think we have to be a little tougher," Barea said. "We have to stop being too nice. They turned it up. I think it helped them. That was the game right there."
NOTES: It was Barnes' second ejection of the season and seventh of his career. He entered the game tied for the league lead in technical fouls with nine. ... The 6-foot-1 Bledsoe blocked the 6-11 Pekovic's layup in transition in the third quarter. ... Shved was named to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge that will take place during All-Star weekend in Houston. The rookie entered the game averaging 10.7 points and 4.6 assists this season.