Kyle Anderson — not exactly a player known for his outbursts — was hot. In the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ blowout Game 3 win, Anderson was called for an offensive foul for charging into Jordan Poole and he was pissed off about it.
Anderson let the officials know about it and earned the standard technical for that — but Anderson wouldn’t let it go. Despite a couple of teammates trying to hold him back from doing it, Anderson walked over to David Guthrie to continue arguing the call. Guthrie does the right thing and walks away, trying to de-escalate the situation. Anderson keeps going and likely said some “magical words.” It was another official who had heard enough and ejected Anderson.
Kyle Anderson was ejected from Game 3 after receiving his second technical foul. pic.twitter.com/aSTR80sEcs
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 8, 2022
Broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy then framed the postgame debate, which was that mild-mannered players such as Anderson, ones not known for complaining, get ejected more quickly than players who seem to be constantly complaining. Worked up Grizzlies fans frustrated that their team got run out of the building pointed to Draymond Green as the example (a few did it with some pretty ugly implications).
Van Gundy may be correct on one level, but it’s never that simple. A mild-mannered player can earn an ejection and doesn’t automatically deserve extra protection. Players who complain and talk to the officials a lot also have an understanding of where the line is and how not to cross it. It’s not simply complaining often or not, it’s how it is done and what is said. In Anderson’s case, Guthrie walked away trying not to give a second technical, Anderson’s Grizzlies teammates tried to hold him back, and he just kept going. We don’t know what was said, but it was enough for another official to feel like he had to step in.
Anderson’s ejection didn’t change the outcome of this game, the Warriors were already up 16 and in control when it happened. He shouldn’t see a fine for this (although with the league’s often random-seeming fine structure, who knows).