It got chippy late in Monday’s game, with Cleveland trailing Utah, because both teams were playing with “the playoffs are coming” desperation.
Then this incident happened. Trey Lyles had played well (he had a dozen points on the night) and got the ball out by the three point line with Channing Frye on him tight. Lyles swings elbows through trying to catch some space so he can face up, but one of them catches Frye right in the family jewels. Frye takes exception, and after the play walks over and head butts Lyles.
The referees ruled it was a flagrant 2 foul on Lyles for the unnecessary elbow, and he was ejected for it. Frye was given a technical, his second of the game, so he was gone. The bottom line is the refs got both guys off the floor following the incident.
My problem with this is that an official had called a foul on Lyles for the elbow already — a common foul. If Frye had not headbutted Lyles and just gone back up the court, this would have been forgotten. But once Frye upped the intensity, the referees seemed to look for a way to balance the scales.
It didn’t change the outcome, Utah hung on for a 94-85 win over Cleveland, which is huge considering the Jazz’s leading scorer Gordon Hayward sat this out with a foot issue.