You know the officiating is getting out of hand when reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic can’t even have a word with the referee. “I’m really trying not to talk to them because I try to and then I get (a) technical, ejected,” he said. “So I don’t even try to talk to them anymore.”
Sadly referees ruining games seems to be a common theme this season. Pistons fans were robbed of seeing their top draft pick ball out against the Suns after he was sent home for pointing at his own bench. A low blow given that Detroit have barely had anything to cheer about this season.
The decision against Cunningham was far from a one-off. Scroll down to see a recap of the most surprising referee decisions that have been made this season.
Cade Cunningham ejected for pointing at his bench
Cade Cunningham is the latest victim of poor referee decisions. The first overall draft pick was assessed a second technical foul for “a physical taunt at the defender”. It meant an early shower for the rookie who had tallied 21 points in 24 minutes of play. After the game he explained “I had my people right behind the bench” and was simply pointing at them to celebrate the dunk.
Kyle Lowry ejected for passing the ball to an official
Heat guard Kyle Lowry was ejected for “throwing the ball in a forceful manner at the official.” There’s not much to go by in this clip except that Lowry is tossed from the game after passing the ball to the referee.
After the game Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra lamented how the call ruined things for fans, “The fans are paying money to see everybody play, and everybody’s a little bit stressed out right now. I haven’t gotten an explanation yet about it.”
Tyler Herro gets ejected for playing basketball
Another Heat player was tossed from an earlier game after Tyler Herro picked up his second technical of the game. The call left announcers confused as to how Herro could be ejected after such a short sequence.
Taj Gibson reacts, gets ejected
Knicks forward Taj Gibson was on the court for all of 3 minutes before being tossed out of the Garden. It meant that fans eager to see the old Bulls take on the new-look Bulls had their viewing curtailed. Gibson was frustrated after being charged with an offensive foul and made his feelings known before immediately getting thrown out of the game.
Anthony Davis ejected after tying his laces
Davis ejected for only the second time in his career during a drubbing by the Bulls. The decision came after he complained that play had restarted before he had time to tie his shoe laces.
LeBron gets Pacers fans ejected
It’s not alway the referees who do the ejecting. LeBron James had two Pacers fans ejected after they seemingly went too far with their banter. It was never revealed what the fans said to irk to Lakers star but they clearly violated the NBA Fan Code of Conduct and had to pay the price.
NBA fans shouldn’t expect changes any time soon. Rules dictate that a player is ejected if they are assessed with two technical fouls. Ultimately it will be on the players to keep their emotions in check.
Fans however deserve to see the stars of the game. They’re paying to see their favorite players and referees shouldn’t be the ones robbing them of such an experience.
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