The Golden State Warriors cruised to a 28-point victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday, but the highlight – or rather lowlight – of their evening came in a frustrating first half. It was frustrating for one player in particular: Shaun Livingston.
Livingston was furious at the lack of a foul call on his turnaround jumper over Tyler Johnson in the second quarter. Before the ball had even slipped out of bounds, the Warriors guard stalked over to referee Courtney Kirkland. The two got in each other’s faces, and Livingston was ejected:
Shaun Livingston ejected after making contact with a ref pic.twitter.com/ZRGfDEG7vc
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 4, 2017
Replays showed the two went forehead-to-forehead, and there appeared to be contact:
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) December 4, 2017
Here’s another angle:
Shaun Livingston and referee Courtney Kirkland got in each other's faces before Livingston received his first career ejection. pic.twitter.com/yk7KYoeL5p
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 4, 2017
Kirkland immediately tossed Livingston after the contact. It was the first ejection of Livingston’s career.
The question here is who was primarily responsible for the contact. Livingston is certainly not blameless, and he instigated the confrontation. But Kirkland also appeared to lean toward Livingston, and might have even initiated the actual contact.
But Livingston knew he was gone the moment the contact happened. He didn’t argue, ripped his shirt out of his shorts, and headed down the tunnel.