Here’s why Taj Gibson deserved to be ejected from Game 5 (VIDEO)

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Early in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s Game 5 win over the Bulls, Taj Gibson was ejected for what the referees viewed as a kick to Matthew Dellavedova, who was on the ground after being pushed there by Gibson during a box-out situation.

While many believe that Gibson’s “kick” only happened because of the leg lock that Dellavedova had on him, the actions by Gibson earlier in the possession, when looking at the totality of the play, did in fact warrant the ejection.

Gibson is overly-physical with Dellavedova twice on the perimeter, as he attempts to screen for Aaron Brooks. He gets Dellavedova with an arm around the neck …

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and then throws his shoulder forward to catch Dellavedova in the face …

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before shoving Dellavedova in the back …

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which caused him to hit the floor before the leg lock and kick ever took place.

Here’s a look at the entire possession.

The referees easily could have called Gibson for the foul on the screen, because he clearly launches his shoulder forward for maximum impact. Had this happened, there obviously wouldn’t have been any incident between the two players under the basket.

Now, should Gibson have been ejected simply for shaking his leg loose from Dellavedova’s grasp, no matter how bad it looked initially? Of course not. But given the way Gibson caused the altercation by his actions very early in the possession, I believe the ejection was warranted — although I don’t feel like Gibson is deserving of any additional punishment in the form of a fine or suspension.

[Photos via Tom Read]