Kemba Walker had never been ejected from an NBA game before… until Wednesday night.
Midway through the third quarter, Walker got pancaked by LaMarcus Aldridge. Walker thought it was a moving screen and too aggressive, he popped up angry wanting to question the call — instead he got two quick technicals and an ejection from referee Evan Scott.
Kemba Walker has been ejected from game vs. Spurs 🤦 pic.twitter.com/cXCXaRaiAO
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 9, 2020
Brad Stevens also got a technical from the officials on that play. Here’s the explanation from the officials postgame.
POOL REPORT ON THE KEMBA WALKER EJECTION: pic.twitter.com/ymHTQJJeRw
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) January 9, 2020
The league should rescind the second technical. Walker was hot when he popped up, used some “magical language” and earned that first tech. However, the second was an overreaction from Scott (a rookie official). Walker is not a hothead — again, he had never been ejected from a game in his career — and this is the situation where the referee needs to have a dialogue with the player (and maybe coach). Basketball is an emotional game, Walker just got flattened, the referee has to give some leeway there and allow the player to vent a little, and make his case. Much like when refs put up the “stop sign” hand before the player has even gotten to them to say something, it hurts the relationship between the players and referees to cut off communication with a quick trigger. The players will respect the official who listens to them more.
Those technical fouls did not decide the game but they did help change momentum. The Celtics were on a 20-7 run and had cut the Spurs lead to seven. This call led to five three throws for San Antonio — two for Walker’s two technicals, one for Stevens technical, and two for the shooting foul called on the play — and when they hit four it stretched the lead back up to double digits. Boston would never close it.