NBA players rip officiating crew for ejecting Kristaps Porzingis from Mavericks vs. Clippers

Kristaps Porzingis’ playoff debut ended much earlier than expected.

The Mavericks forward was ejected from Monday night’s Game 1 against the Clippers after receiving his second technical foul early in the third quarter. Porzingis took exception to Marcus Morris’ hard foul on Luka Doncic, but Clippers and Mavericks players were quickly separated before the situation escalated.

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Following a review of the altercation, the officiating crew handed out technical fouls to both Morris and Porzingis, the latter of whom had received a tech in the first half for swinging his arm in disgust after earning a personal foul on a Paul George shot attempt.

Considering the NBA rulebook states the “assessment of a technical foul shall be avoided whenever and wherever possible,” this seemed to be a complete overreaction in both instances. ESPN rules analyst Steve Javie attempted to defend the decision during the broadcast, but if an arm swing and slight shove are automatic technical fouls, they should be called far more often.

NBA players, including Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki and Lakers star LeBron James, did not agree with how the referees reacted to the scrum:

Porzingis left the game with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter. He had 14 points and six rebounds, and the Mavericks led 71-66 at the time of his ejection. They were outscored 52-39 over the final 21 minutes of regulation, ultimately losing by a final score of 118-110.

When asked after the game if he deserved to be ejected, Porzingis told reporters, “Of course not.”

“We got into it a little bit. I saw [Morris] getting into Luka’s face, and I didn’t like that. That’s why I reacted,” Porzingis said. “That’s a smart thing to do from their part, and I just gotta be smarter and control my emotions next time, especially on the first one. … I just gotta be smart and not let my emotions get the better of me.”

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