As the NBA season starts to get hot and heavy, so apparently do players’ tempers. It’s not uncommon for professional athletes, always known for their competitive spirit, to sometimes let their emotions get the best of them, but this week has seen a run on heightened attitudes. There have been at least four incidents involving four different teams, and it’s time for the league to put things in check before the problem gets out of hand.
D’Angelo Russell, guard for the Golden State Warriors and long-time NBA star, was ejected this past Sunday as his team was taking on (and losing to) the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was the first time in his career that Russell has ever been sent to the showers during a game and undoubtedly was a result of the frustration he was feeling over his team’s performance.
With just 7:12 to go in the third quarter, he went for a floater to the basket over Thunder guard Chris Paul and came down expected to head to the free throw line. Referee James Williams apparently didn’t agree and didn’t call Paul for any foul.
This led Russell to get in the ref’s face, resulting in an immediate technical foul. He was given another just a few seconds later and it was off to the lockers after that. The Warriors went on to lose 120-92.
Houston apparently has an attitude problem of its own. Earlier this month, an Astros fan slapped a Yankees fan when the two teams were battling for the American League Championship Series. With MLB all wrapped up, that fan will be able to calm down, but an NBA fan is taking his place.
A Rockets fan punched New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Joe Boylan this past Saturday after the two teams finished their game. Manuel Garcia has been charged with misdemeanor assault as a result, and his girlfriend was arrested for interfering with police as she tried to prevent them from reaching Garcia. The motivation for the attack isn’t known, especially since Garcia should have been happy. His team won, 126-123.
The Detroit Pistons are doing a little damage control after one of their own was fined by the NBA. Forward Markieff Morris had a great game this past Saturday, racking up 17 points, six rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot. He also decided to throw in a technical foul just to round things out.
The incident took place in the first quarter after Morris was called for a foul when he allegedly blocked Tobias Harris. He was taken out of the game to give him a chance to cool off, but reportedly launched some unpleasantries at the ref.
The technical wouldn’t have been so bad – plenty of NBA-ers have received them. However, Morris reportedly wouldn’t let up, continuing a tirade against a ref. This has now led to a $35,000 fine against the player for “inappropriate and offensive language toward a game official.”
The Wizards star felt some brotherly love this weekend. Markieff is brother to Marcus Morris of the Boston Celtics, who received his own fine – perhaps as a way of showing support for his twin sibling. The Celtics were up against the Milwaukee Bucks when he received a technical foul in the third quarter. He decided to remain quiet during the game, but didn’t waste time voicing his opinion after his team lost 116-92. He criticized the actions of the ref crew following the game, leading to the NBA slapping him with a $15,000 fine.
With all that happening in just a week, it will be interesting to see what lies ahead as the NBA season progresses. Perhaps we’ll see players wearing boxing gloves and protective headgear before long.