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.
A scrum broke out after this play between Luka and Marcus Morris. pic.twitter.com/41gZIGsGCp— ESPN (@espn) August 18, 2020
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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.
“Technical Foul 1”— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 18, 2020
“Technical Foul 2”
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:
That ejection is super soft...— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) August 18, 2020
Man that was BOGUS AS HELL MAN!!!!! Cmon man. ♂️— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 18, 2020
...you can’t eject him Kristaps for that. Protecting the Mavs best player. That’s bad.— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) August 18, 2020
No ejection in the playoffs man— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) August 18, 2020
man yall got to change that!!!— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) August 18, 2020
That sh*t was wack...Refs weak for that. Adam Silver gotta do something about this. Real Talk— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 18, 2020
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.
|After Porzingis ejection||Clippers||Mavericks|
When asked after the game if he deserved to be ejected, Porzingis told reporters, "Of course not."
Mavericks’ Kristaps Porzingis on whether he deserved to be ejected from Game 1 vs. Clippers: “Of course not.” pic.twitter.com/PHSeuq48Xd— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 18, 2020
"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."