BOSTON (CBS) — The standard for getting a technical foul in the NBA is generally accepted as such: Swearing and/or yelling at a referee gets a player a technical foul. After a few moments of cooling down, the situation settles. If the player stirs the emotion once more and snaps at a referee a second time, then and only then is a second technical foul — and its accompanying automatic ejection — assessed.
Celtics star Kemba Walker was not afforded that leeway on Wednesday night, when referee Evan Scott gave two technical fouls to him in rapid succession, leading to his early exit from a 129-114 Celtics loss against the Spurs.
Walker said after the game that he was a bit puzzled regarding the decision of Scott, and on Thursday morning, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the referee might have just had an emotional reaction.
“I thought it was quick,” Ainge said on Toucher & Rich. “I thought that the official reacted emotionally and too quickly. I think Kemba got up and was very frustrated without the call, and he cursed at the official. But it seemed almost as if he was cursing and the cursing was not finished yet when he got the first T. And then [the ref] should have just turned and walked away, and then if Kemba comes after him continually, then I understand it. But it just seemed so quick, the second technical and the ejection, that … I don’t know, that was my take.”
Wow. Kemba Walker ejected. That was quick. pic.twitter.com/ubktdPmJxW
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 9, 2020
As for what the Celtics can do about it, Ainge said there’s really not much — outside of protesting the second technical foul and thus refunding Walker his $2,000 fine and taking one technical foul off the books for him.
“There is a process that you can protest all you want,” Ainge said. “The league will listen to you if there is a reason, I think that those things can happen. We may protest the second technical foul on Kemba. I don’t think it was warranted. But there’s nothing that’s going to happen, other than Kemba may get his money back from getting a second technical. The game’s over and there’s no recourse. I certainly don’t want a young official that may have made a mistake — or may not. I’d like to hear his side of the story, too, which I haven’t. But the bottom line is it happened and it’s over and we’ll move on. Those things don’t really matter.”
The referee’s reaction on Wednesday was not completely dissimilar to the reaction of referee Marat Kogut last week, when he ejected Isaiah Thomas for making minimal incidental contact during the course of play.
Isaiah Thomas has been ejected for pushing the ref pic.twitter.com/62c5fdT9YR
— DailySportsDosage (@OfficalDSD) January 4, 2020
Crew chief Mark Ayotte said after that game that Thomas’ contact was “definitely just a push,” which may have been a stretch.
In Walker’s instance, crew chief Rodney Mott said that Walker received his first technical foul for using profanity toward the referee, and he said that Walker was issued the second technical foul because “he continued to use profanity.”
Most viewers believed that there was no separation between Walker’s first use of profanity and whatever was deemed to have been the second instance of using profanity. Danny Ainge is one of those viewers.