T’is the season for first career ejections, apparently.
A day after Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was ejected for the first time in his 15-year NBA career, New Orleans Pelicans phenom Anthony Davis joined the club, earning two technical fouls 15 seconds apart in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 30, 2017
Davis also earned his first career fine — a $25,000 pinch of his nine-figure deep pockets — for what NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe described as “verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection.”
The first technical came after Davis thought he was fouled by Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and argued with referee Brent Barnaky while his team trailed 45-43 with 4:26 to go before the half. Tech expert DeMarcus Cousins stepped in to calm his twin tower down, but on the very next possession, when Davis was whistled for a foul on Towns, he barked at Barnaky again and got his first ejection.
The Pelicans were outscored 17-6 in the quarter’s final four-plus minutes, and four of those points came on the resulting free throws from the two technicals and the controversial foul call on Davis. Afterwards, Cousins — no stranger to answering ejection questions — defended Davis to the fullest:
Here's the entire clip of what Boogie had to say about AD's ejection: pic.twitter.com/fS77K4qqF1
— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) November 30, 2017
“Y’all seen it,” said Cousins. “It’s obvious, dude. It’s a joke, man. It’s a complete joke,. You saw it. I don’t have to speak on it. You saw it. What I don’t understand is players are punished for playing off of emotion and showing their emotions in the game or whatever the case may be, but other people are allowed to, and it’s totally fine. It’s OK to coach off of emotions. It’s OK to judge a game off of emotions. I mean, it’s bogus.”
Cousins added, via the Times-Picayune: “Everybody here knows A.D. and there’s got to be some type of legit reason for him to act out.”
Fellow ejection expert Rajon Rondo had a slightly different take, suggesting the Pelicans let the Wolves and refs get in their heads in the 120-102 loss — a second straight defeat that dropped New Orleans to 11-10, a half-game back of the Denver Nuggets for seventh place in the Western Conference.
“We got emotionally hijacked tonight,” Rondo told the Times-Picayune. “We didn’t respond well. It kind of started before the ejection, I think in the first half, and I’m not sure of the exact run but they got layups and dunks after one another. It kind of just triggered getting down by 13 going into the half.”
Either way, you know you’ve really lost your cool when Cousins and Rondo are the voices of reason on your transgression, so at least Davis got his money’s worth on the first ejection of his six-year NBA career. But Davis, who has averaged about two techs a year, still has a long way to go to catch Cousins (114 technicals and 12 ejections in his career) and Rondo (46 technicals and five ejections in 12 years).
As for Cousins’ assessment of the techs as “a joke,” here’s crew chief Ken Mauer’s explanation:
The following is a transcript of the pool reporter interview following the Minnesota/New Orleans game with NBA crew chief Ken Mauer by Rod Walker, The Advocate. pic.twitter.com/tIHxFljWCk
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) November 30, 2017
Q: Was there anything that led up to that first technical on Anthony Davis?
Mauer: “Well, after a play to the basket he started running and point and yelling and screaming and cursing at the referee. He was given a technical foul.”
Q: And what about the second one?
Mauer: “On a play to the basket, a play which he was called for a foul, he then turned and again pointed, ran at the official … cursing , swearing, using foul language, and he got ejected.”
Seems reasonable. As for anybody else who’s never been ejected before, your time is now.
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