Taj Gibson was ejected from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers early in the fourth quarter, for what the referees ruled was a kick to Matthew Dellavedova.
While Dellavedova used a leg lock that caused Gibson to have to shake himself loose, Gibson probably should have been ejected anyway given his actions earlier in the possession.
Both sides can find a way to view the play from their opponent as less than sportsmanlike here, and one of the Cavaliers went on record as saying it was a “dirty play” from Gibson.
That Cavalier was J.R. Smith.
“It was a dirty play,” said Smith. “Delly plays hard; he’s not going to try to hurt anybody. But that was a dirty play. I know a little thing about dirty plays, so, it was a bad play. [The referees] made the right decision [to eject Gibson] … There’s just certain things you just don’t do.”
Smith, of course, does indeed know a thing about dirty plays.
Smith was suspended for the first two games of this series for a backhanded punch to the face of Boston’s Jae Crowder in the Cavaliers’ series-clinching Game 4 win over the Celtics. He’s always been a bit tone deaf about controversial things that take place on the court, but this particular remark just comes across as amusing more than anything else.