Sunday night in the NBA featured an interesting moment between the Thunder and the Trail Blazers. No, not Damian Lillard’s 36-point and 13-assist performance to lead Portland to a 103-99 win. Instead, everyone was left talking about the bizarre ejection of Carmelo Anthony, who was issued a Flagrant 2 while attempting a layup. Yes, you read that right.
Anthony had the ball up top and seemed to get swiped in the face by a Portland defender. No foul was called, though. Second later, Anthony drove to the paint and was met by Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. There was a lot of contact, and Nurkic went down clutching his face. After a brief huddle, and a look at the play on replay, the officials decided Carmelo has intentionally led with his elbow and ejected him from the game.
Check it out:
CARMELO ANTHONY HAS BEEN EJECTED!!! pic.twitter.com/wL0hkrgbHA
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) November 6, 2017
Thunder personnel were dumbfounded by the call. Head coach Billy Donovon said he’d “never seen in the history of the game a guy get an and-1 play and then get ejected from the game.” He added that anyone questioning the play should direct those inquires directly to the league.
Anthony had a similarly diplomatic approach when asked about the play:
“I don’t have no thoughts,” Anthony said, according to ESPN. “I don’t have anything to say about that play. I think the league will do what’s right.”
All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook was less careful with his word choice, though:
Westbrook says the Thunder don’t get officiated the same way. Called some of the calls tonight “a bunch of bull****” (NSFW) pic.twitter.com/oWthhsG2T7
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) November 6, 2017
Here’s a snippet of the transcript:
“The last game, tipped ball against the Celtics, I accidentally hit the guy in the face, flagrant foul on me, it was an accident, but I hit him,” Westbrook said. “I accidentally got hit in the face today, nobody looks at it. Melo go, get Nurkic, ‘oh we’re going to review it.’ Bunch of bulls*t in my opinion. They don’t referee the same way all the time. They pick and choose when they want to do it, which is not fair in my opinion.”
Our prediction: Anthony’s Flagrant 2 will be rescinded, but Westbrook will still get hit with a hefty fine for criticizing officials.