In this era where a majority of the NBA’s star players seem to be friendly with one another in some capacity off the court, a regular season basketball game that achieves a certain level of chippiness is a welcome surprise. So with that in mind, we bring you these selected highlights from Utah’s close loss to the defending champion Mavericks on Thursday.
In the clip above, you will first see Derrick Favors hold onto the ball a little too long after he is whistled for an offensive foul, catching Dirk Nowitzki above the shoulders with the right hand. Nowitzki is a lover and not a fighter, so his passive-aggressive response is to slap the ball out of Favors’ hands.
Favors allows this to happen here, and his teammate, Earl Watson, is the one who has to come to the rescue with the retaliatory slap of the ball once Dirk had gained possession.
On the next trip down, Favors is whistled for the cheap foul on the screen up top as the refs try to gain control of the situation. Favors, who is very likely more upset that he allowed Dirk to treat him like that on the previous play than he is at this particular call, takes the ball and heaves it into the crowd with an underhand toss.
Favors was ejected at the time (which seems a bit excessive), and was later fined $25,000 for the incident, according to an official release from the league.
Had favors simply responded on the previous possession, he likely would have stayed in the game and avoided the fine. But it’s only his second year in the league. One would hope that he’ll learn.