Taj Gibson was ejected from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers, for a “kick” to Matthew Dellavedova that didn’t look nearly as bad on the replay as it did in real time.
Dellavedova had grabbed Gibson with a leg lock, which caused Gibson to shake his foot free. That more than anything else is why he appeared to kick Dellavedova while he was down, and despite this being clear on the replay, the officials felt that a flagrant-two foul was warranted — perhaps due to the totality of Gibson’s actions during the entire possession.
A day later, the league ruled that Dellavedova would be issued a retroactive technical foul for his actions. But Gibson’s flagrant-two would stand as called, and that has him in line for an automatic suspension should he pick up another flagrant foul at any point during the postseason.
The NBA retroactively assessed a technical foul to Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova for his role in the altercation Tuesday that led to Taj Gibson’s ejection with 10 minutes, 25 seconds left in Game 5.
Gibson’s flagrant-2 foul didn’t get downgraded, which means he has three points for two flagrant fouls during the postseason. Another flagrant would trigger an automatic suspension — one game for a flagrant-1 and two for a flagrant-2.
“Still don’t understand it,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Gibson’s ejection. “It was a nothing play.”
By itself, it was indeed. But Gibson was working on a confrontation with Dellavedova from the possession’s early stages, and the end result (to me) meant the ejection was justified.
Gibson will need to be careful the rest of the way, but with the Bulls facing elimination should they lose at home to the Cavaliers on Thursday, he may not have to watch himself for that much longer.