Sunday night in Salt Lake City was odd. Not only could the Utah Jazz just never close the gap on the Houston Rockets, a surprise given their Game 2 performance, but because in the third quarter Chris Paul‘s brother C.J. Paul was ejected from his seat near the floor.
The TNT broadcast wasn’t clear on who C.J. was at the time, but Twitter quickly caught on, which sent folks wondering just what had occurred between the two brothers to warrant an ejection.
The broadcast crew originally thought a fan — who later turned out to be C.J. — was having some kind of altercation with Chris. That obviously wasn’t the case, but a person next to C.J. had said something rather crude to referee James Williams. The comment was mistakenly attributed to C.J., and thus we got video of what appeared to be Chris Paul kicking his own brother out of a playoff game.
It was a case of mistaken reporting and mistaken identity all in one, which USA Today’s Sam Amick quickly helped clarify after the game.
Via USA Today:
“The guy next to me called (referee James Williams) a (expletive), but they thought it was me,” C.J., who played collegiately at Hampton University and University of South Carolina-Upstate, told USA TODAY Sports. “The thing is, I know James. He reffed me in college. But (the security guard) comes up to me, and says ‘Hey, we need to talk to you in the back.’ I said, ‘for what?’ I told them what happened. I don’t talk like that.”
No word if the correct fan was eventually ejected, but at least C.J. found his way back to his seat.
Meanwhile, these things just keep popping up in Utah. A fan got his phone slapped by James Harden in Game 2 of this series, and Russell Westbrook was squaring off with Jazz fans in the previous round.
Game 4 was highly-strung, not just on the court but in the arena in Utah. The Rockets only need one game to close the series out, no doubt they’d like to avoid going back to SLC for several reasons.