After Russell Westbrook taking a hit to the face was called for just a common foul then Carmelo Anthony got ejected for elbowing Jusuf Nurkic while Anthony attempted a layup shortly, the Thunder sounded off.
Westbrook, via Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman:
Paul George, via Fred Katz of The Oklahoman:
Billy Donovan, via Katz:
“I’ve never seen in the history of the game a guy get an and-one play and then get ejected from the game,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “That’s probably something you’ve got to talk to the league about.”
“They told me it was incidental contact, a basketball play, but they ended up reviewing those other ones,” Donovan said. “So to me, that’s something the league is going to have to address or deal with because the explanation on Carmelo was that it was a flagrant foul.”
“I told them they needed to review that, and they said that there was no reason to because it was off the ball,” he said. “And I said, ‘Well, a foul can still occur off the ball.’ I thought that play should’ve been reviewed. It may have proven nothing, but I think when someone gets hit in the face and goes down to the floor and you’ve got to call a timeout, you should at least review it just to make sure. I don’t know why they reviewed the other one. Maybe whoever it was, Nurkic, whoever it was, stayed down longer. I probably didn’t ask Russell to stay down on the court long enough to get it reviewed.”
The predictable result?
Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, forward Paul George and guard Russell Westbrook have each been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The comments were made following the Thunder’s 103-99 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, Nov. 5
George’s and Donovan’s statements didn’t seem particularly egregious to me. But swept into Westbrook’s heated response, the league cracked down.
That’s not how it should be. That’s how it sometimes is, though.