There are quick-trigger ejections — Scott Foster is legendary for them.
Then there are quick-trigger ejections late in close games that help decide the outcome.
Scottie Barnes was the victim of one of the latter on Monday night. With 28.3 seconds left and the Raptors down one, Jakob Poeltl was whistled for a tight-call foul (there was contact, but it’s not a call always made late in games). Scottie Barnes, standing next to Poeltl basically under the basket, says something to himself, and Foster — up at the free throw line — spins around and ejects Barnes.
Scottie Barnes was just ejected in a 1 point game with under 30 seconds remaining…
Scott Foster made the call after Barnes protested a late foul call 😬
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 7, 2023
Add the technical free throw to the two for the foul — the Nuggets made all three — and it was suddenly a four-point game not just one possession, and the Nuggets went on to get the win.
After the game, Barnes said he was talking to himself, with one of those things being, “y’all are cheating, bro.”
Scottie Barnes on ejection vs. Nuggets: “I was just saying something to myself and then I guess he took offense to it. So he just threw me out the game. I was just like talking to myself.” pic.twitter.com/DVtjELMUu4
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) March 7, 2023
After the game, Scott Foster told a pool reporter:
“He was ejected on one technical foul because he used verbiage that which directly questioned the integrity of the crew.”
It is hard to be an NBA referee, to go out and do your best nightly — and by the NBA metrics Foster is one of the best, it’s why he gets a lot of playoffs/Finals assignments — and to constantly hear you suck. NBA referees deserve more respect than they get, they are the best in the world (if you don’t think so, watch some college or FIBA ball for a while).
But check that ego at the door — it’s an emotional game, a call went against Barnes’ team in a critical moment and he vented. Not demonstrably, not yelling or trying to show anyone up, he was just frustrated with the call. Foster can’t toss a guy for that. We want the emotion, we want the players to have their hearts on their sleeves. It’s not personal. Get over yourself.
Not that the league will do anything about it.