LeBron James and the rest of the NBA have collectively blow up over the “bogus as hell” ejection of Dallas star Kristaps Porzingis in the Mavericks’ loss to the Clippers.
Porzingis was marched off the court with an instant ejection early in the third quarter after two weak technical fouls.
A fuming Porzingis had to watch on from the locker room after he received his second technical for running in and protecting teammate Luka Doncic when the prolific scorer was shoved by Marcus Morris after a whistle had already been blown.
Follow the NBA playoffs live in the scoreboard above
Porzingis charged in after seeing Morris try to throw Doncic to the floor before players came from everywhere in a timid melee.
The referees reviewed the incident and came back with a ruling that both Morris and Porzingis had earned technical fouls.
Porzingis had earlier been hit with a first technical for lashing out in frustration when the referees hit him with a reaching foul during a play that replays showed was actually a clean shot-block.
James and Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki were among the commentators to criticise the call.
“Man that was BOGUS AS HELL MAN!!!!! Cmon man,” James posted on Twitter.
Nowitzki wrote on Twitter: “That ejection is super soft”.
NBA Commentator Michael Wilbon also wrote: “Really really really really dumb and stupid and lazy and unfair to eject Porzingis for THAT…just hideously wrong and lazy on every level.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers even said in his three-quarter time interview that he “hated” seeing Porzingis ejected.
He was ejected with the Mavericks ahead 71-66 early in the third quarter.
It was the first time Porzingis has ever been ejected from an NBA game.
The Clipper went on to win 118-110, taking a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference series.
CELTICS WINGS RUN RIOT IN SIMMONS’ ABSENCE
The 76ers need to find a quick answer to Celtics wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum if they’re any chance of springing an upset in their first round series.
Brown (32 points, 12 rebounds) and Brown (29 points) torched a Philly outfit missing All-NBA defender Ben Simmons in a 109-101 win.
Joel Embiid did the heavy lifting for the 76ers with 26 points and 16 rebounds and Josh Richardson (18 points) had his moments but after surging into the lead with a 30-20 third quarter the sixth seed fell behind quickly in the fourth and couldn’t come back.
Philly closed to 103-100 with a minute remaining but undersized Richardson fouled Tatum on a drive to the hoop and his free throws made Boston safe.
Gordon Hayward left the game late with a sprained ankle.
MITCHELL JUST MISSES JORDAN’S RECORD
Donovan Mitchell produced a 57-point explosion — and it still wasn’t enough as the Utah Jazz lost 135-125 in overtime to the Denver Nuggets in the first game of the playoffs.
Without injured forward Bojan Bogdanovic and guard Mike Conley — who left the bubble for the birth of his child — the Jazz are going to need a historic series from Mitchell.
He started off that way, hitting 19/33 shots from the field and 13/13 free throws to tally the third highest point tally in playoff history behind Michael Jordan (63 points) and Elgin Baylor (61 points).
But the one-two punch of Jamal Murray (36 points, 13/20 shooting, 6/9 threes and nine assists) and Nikola Jokic (29 points, 11/21 shooting, 4/7 threes and 10 rebounds) gave the Nuggets the edge. Jerami Grant was also big off the bench with 19 points for the three seed.
Joe Ingles (19 points, 5/12 threes), Jordan Clarkson (18 points) and Rudy Gobert (17 points) all attempted to help fill the scoring void for Utah but it wasn’t enough in a worrying sign for their hopes in this series.
Jokic had a chance to ice the victory in regulation, but his hook shot at the buzzer over Gobert failed to drop.
Murray seized command in overtime, clinching the outcome with a three-point dagger with 46 seconds on the clock to give the Nuggets a 1-0 lead.
The teams met four times in the regular season and the last time was August 8, when Mitchell had another huge game but the Jazz lost that one as well in double overtime. The Nuggets have now won all five games against the Jazz this season.
BROOKLYN WELCOMED TO VANVLEET STREET
He was the breakout star of last year’s playoffs and now Fred VanVleet is ready to show he’s in the top echelon of NBA guards.
The Raptors shooter hit 8/10 threes as Toronto began a series against the Nets that is expected to be one-sided with a 134-110 thrashing.
VanVleet finished with 30 points and 11 assists as the Raptors also got great minutes from Serge Ibaka (22 points, seven rebounds) off the bench.
Caris LeVert produced a 15-point 15-assist double double for Brooklyn, which rallied with a 35-22 third quarter after trailing 73-51 at halftime.
But the Raptors took care of business with a 39-24 fourth quarter to go ahead 1-0.
— with AFP