Lots of players seem to be getting tossed from NBA games lately, including Golden State Warriors players like Kevin Durant. Now, Warriors guard Shaun Livingston has been ejected from Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Heat for making contact with an official.
The play came in the second quarter of the matinee contest, after Livingston felt he was fouled by Tyler Johnson on a post up.
Livingston immediately turned around and got close to Courtney Kirkland, the baseline official. Then, it got weird.
While Livingston was certainly occupying space close to Kirkland, that’s sort of normal and accepted in the NBA when a player is heated and ready to send a few words toward an official. It’s typically seen as the ref’s job to keep their cool. Kirkland appeared to make the first step toward Livingston, entering his space, and it’s possible that Kirkland was the one who made the initial contact with Livingston. It’s hard to tell.
Here’s the slow motion replay via NBATV, and the whole play as it happened.
That’s … weird stuff. Even if Kirkland didn’t make the move to touch heads with Livingston, he certainly appeared to have stepped into the Warriors guard’s space in a way that’s not expected or befitting an official. Their job is to remain as stoic as possible to deescalate players, and I’m not sure Kirkland did that here.
We’ll have to wait for word from the NBA on Monday to hear more about whether Livingston, Kirkland, or both will be disciplined further.