Kristaps Porzingis is playing in his first playoff series ever. He never made it to the playoffs with the New York Knicks. He is now there in his first year with the Dallas Mavericks. Porzingis was playing well against the LA Clippers in the opening game. He had a profound defensive and offensive impact. While Porzingis struggled in switches with nimble guards like Paul George, he was the only real post-presence for the Mavericks.
Porzingis was ejected in the third quarter of this game. He received two very soft technicals and had to be sent out. The first technical came after he protested a foul call on a clean block on Ivica Zubac. The second came when he protected Luka Doncic after Marcus Morris Sr. got a little aggressive. That situation resulted in a double technical, but it was Porzingis’s second.
The decision has been criticized by many people. LeBron James, Kendrick Perkins, and others have taken to Twitter to show their frustration. Even the commentary team criticized the two technical fouls in the broadcast. Porzingis had 14 points, six rebounds, and one assist in the game.
This ejection didn’t look fair to anyone. The broadcast saw former referee Steve Javie justify the decision on air. His justification was that Porzingis didn’t come into that situation as a peacemaker.
It cannot be disputed that this was a very weak ejection. Porzingis was right to challenge the foul on Zubac which resulted in his first technical. You cannot criticize him for standing up for Doncic against known agitator Marcus Morris Sr. However, the second technical is justified by the nature of KP pushing another player.
The Mavericks were leading the game before the ejection. Since then, they have lost the lead. They are ending the third quarter with a 5-point deficit to overcome. While the Mavericks still have Luka Doncic on the court, he cannot replicate the defensive presence that Porzingis has. Porzingis is also the second-best scorer on this Mavericks team, so this ejection might have cost the Mavs this game.
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