Imagine being in the building to watch De’Aaron Fox have a tremendous breakout game in the Kings’ 118-109 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Then imagine about being in the building, but having to watch the action on television because you were ejected. Welcome to Marvin Bagley’s night.
It happened quickly. Too quickly in fact. Bagley was called for two technical fouls, one after time had expired in the first quarter and a second just a minute and 42 seconds into the third quarter.
“I didn’t think that Marvin deserved to be tossed,” coach Luke Walton said. “Look, I like young players kinda letting their emotions out a bit, so I have no problems with Marvin getting a technical. But that hurt when we lost him, because he was doing a heck of a job out there tonight.”
Bagley must have said the magic words on his first technical. According to crew chief James Capers via the pool report, the Kings were warned and then Bagley stepped out of line.
“The Sacramento team had been warned about continually complaining and then he resented a foul call and had a profanity laced statement directed towards the official which caused him to get the first technical foul,” Capers said.
At some point, the crime has to match the punishment. Players routinely complain about calls. Bagley doesn’t have a reputation as a player that fights with the officials, in fact, it’s usually the opposite.
The second technical came almost as quickly as the first. Bagley was defending Zion Williamson and was called for a foul, which he disagreed with. Bagley spun around in circles for a few seconds, but then cooled down and walked away.
When he got a few steps away from the basket, the official hit him again with a tech, which sent Bagley straight to the showers.
“There was a personal foul called against him, he had an overt reaction that went beyond the heat of the moment and because he had one technical the second technical was automatic ejection,” Capers said following the game.
There are overt acts like this throughout the game, but the replay shows Bagley spend about one second jumping up and down in a circle. He doesn’t show up the official or direct a comment his way or towards Williamson. It also didn’t sound like he screamed profanity from the replay.
Bagley was walking away from the play and was showing no emotion when official John Conley finally made the call.
“I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a different type of call,” Richaun Holmes said. “I haven’t seen it since I’ve been playing. The two quick techs on him -- it’s the decision the refs made and they decided to go with it. It was definitely a tough call.”
In the end, there is nothing that Bagley or the Kings can do. Bagley might have violated the rule with an overt act, but he clearly didn’t violate the spirit behind the rule.
At the time of his ejection, Bagley was having a solid game. He finished the night with 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting and added four rebounds in 22 minutes of action. He was part of a group of players that were holding Williamson in check and his removal from the game led to a down turn for Sacramento.
This was the first ejection of Bagley's career. He had a single technical foul called in each of his first two seasons in the league, but the two techs on Monday were the third and fourth of the season for the 21-year-old big man.
The Kings recovered to come away with the win, but the entire situation seemed like an overreaction from the officials. Sacramento is lucky the officiating crew didn’t impact the final result for a second straight game.