This is one that is going to have NBA fans – and, hopefully, executives – talking for a very long time. Dallas Mavericks power forward Kristaps Porzingis was ejected from the game against the LA Clippers last night after receiving his second technical for causing an altercation.
Maybe NBA referees showed favoritism over the ejection, since most believe that what Porzingis did was not that serious. The Mavericks would eventually lose 118-110 against the Clippers in the Western Conference first-round series game in the NBA Bubble.
Porzingis Heads To The Locker Room
Porzingis was kicked out for the first time during his postseason debut on Monday night. He was ejected after being called for his second technical foul with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter of the game. For a valid (or invalid) reason, refs announced Porzingis and Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. double technical callouts.
Then, the altercation began when Morris wrapped his arms around Luka Doncic, causing Porzingis to step in. Right away, he confronted Morris, and the rest of the players intervened to separate them after Morris shoved Porzingis. There were no punches, kicks and nobody was beaten; however, it was enough for refs to give Porzingis the boot.
Porzingis became irate when he saw his teammate being attacked. He said after the game, “I saw [Morris] getting into Luka’s face and I didn’t like that.” Porzingis, who had 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes before his ejection, added, “That’s why I reacted. That’s a smart, smart thing to do from their part. I’ve just got to be smarter and control my emotions the next time.” Porzingis admits having reacted incorrectly and is aware that next time he must control his temper. If a situation like this happens again, the sanction might escalate to something worse.
NBA Greats Defend Porzingis
Two members of the NBA’s exclusive 30,000-pint club openly criticized the call of attention against Porzingis. Los Angeles Lakers legend LeBron James and retired Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki both publicly called out the refs for the decision, leaving comments on Twitter like, “Man that was BOGUS AS HELL MAN!!!!! Cmon man” and “That ejection is super soft…” They obviously don’t approve of the decision taken by the referees, joining a large group of basketball fans that feels the same way.
It may sound strange, and completely out of character, but Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who is responsible for having accumulated seven fines due to criticizing officials during his tenure of more than 20 years, refused to refer to the matter concerning Porzingis’ ejection when ESPN tried to get a hold of him. He might feel worried about getting another fine for giving his point of view. Nowadays, it seems that anyone who states an opinion can be harassed by the media, and the league.
Even Morris Thinks Refs Overreacted
Morris believes that the confrontation was not serious enough to have Porzingis ejected from the game. He said, “I didn’t think it was much of nothing, honestly. I think Luka thought that I was being, I guess, extra physical or something, but if you look at the film, I actually wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t think it was enough to get technical fouls. I wish that Porzingis played because it’s playoffs, man — nobody should get thrown out in playoffs.”
The first technical for Porzingis came after he protested a foul with 6.02 remaining in the second quarter. Replays clearly show that he blocked Paul George’ s layup attempt, but the foul was confirmed. He then reacted by punching the air and shouting something that, if fans had been allowed in the arena, could have made their way to social media. As it stands, it isn’t clear what he said.
However, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said that throwing a punch in the air in protest for a foul call goes against the NBA’s Respect for the Game guidelines and there is no discussion about it. He’s apparently one of the few that feels Porzingis may have been properly punished.