Tristan Thompson played poorly in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals on Thursday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers took on the Golden State Warriors in Oakland.
Then, with 2.6 seconds left in OT, Thompson did one of the dumbest things you’ll ever see in an NBA Finals game.
Golden State, clearly about to win but needing a shot attempt to meet the shot clock, had Shaun Livingston fire off a midrange jumper as the clock wound down in overtime. Thompson stepped out to challenge, ducking his right arm underneath Livingston’s shooting arm. Thompson then gave a little chicken wing that appeared to be aimed generally at Livingston’s head, although it missed by some distance.
That caused referee Tony Brothers to immediately eject Thompson, presumably for attempting to make contact above the shoulders and as a means to get the game under control.
Then, as Thompson reacted and tried to reason with officials, Draymond Green found his way to trash talking Thompson. That set Thompson off, and eventually the Cavaliers guard threw a punch and a ball at the Warriors forward’s head.
The teams half-heartedly squared off, and it took refs a little while to sort things out. The final ruling was an ejection for Thompson, but no technical for the punch at Green. Officials said Thompson could not be charged with a technical since he had already been ejected.
Thompson absolutely connected with Green’s face, even if it was a little like Homer Simpson trying to box. A weak punch is still a punch, and it’s a feat that by itself likely warrants a one game suspension. You can’t punch other players, something the Cavaliers and Warriors are familiar with first hand. It’s made even worse for Thompson given he already was assessed a Flagrant 2, which could be downgraded tomorrow but it’s unlikely it will affect his status for Game 2.
Golden State beat Cleveland, 124-114. Game 2 is on June 3 at 5:00 PM PST in Oakland.