BOSTON -- Kemba Walker has seen and heard a lot as he plays his ninth season in the NBA. That's what made his ejection from Wednesday’s game against San Antonio all the more surprising.
Walker was ejected in the third quarter of the Celtics' 129-114 loss to San Antonio after complaining to rookie official Evan Scott about a hard screen set by Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
Kemba Walker has been ejected from game vs. Spurs 🤦 pic.twitter.com/cXCXaRaiAO— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) January 9, 2020
“I guess he felt I said a little too much,” Walker said. “It’s his choice. It’s on those guys to make those decisions; he made it.”
Pool reporter Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press spoke with the crew chief Rodney Mott after the game.
When asked what did he see on the play, Mott replied, “In real-time, it’s a difficult play; but we deem the screen to be legal, as LaMarcus was set.”
Mott was then asked what led to Walker’s first technical foul.
“Per rule, Kemba Walker used profanity towards an official which led to the first technical foul,” Mott said.
And the second technical foul?
“The same,” Mott said. “He continued to use profanity and was given a second technical foul and ejected.”
At the time, Boston was on a 20-7 run and had cut the Spurs lead to single digits, 76-69, for the first time since early in the first quarter.
The Spurs’ control of the game only grew after Walker’s ejection -- the first of his NBA career.
The two techs on Walker, the one on Stevens and a shooting foul that was called against the Celtics on that play resulted in five free throws for the Spurs. They hit four of them and the lead was 80-69.
“Definitely getting ejected, it swung the game right back into their favor,” Walker said. “We were definitely on our way back.”
While the Walker ejection certainly played a significant factor in the game’s outcome, Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn't use that as an excuse for what had been a lackluster performance by his team for the second time in as many games.
“Whatever the call is, the call is,” Stevens said. “Whatever Kemba said to get kicked out, he said, whatever I said to get a tech I said. But, you know, obviously, there was a lot we could’ve controlled up to that point and after that point and played better."
Stevens is right, of course.
Still, for Walker’s outburst to result in an ejection seemed excessive, not only because of the play in question but also because of Walker’s NBA track record.
“This is the first time I’ve been ejected in my life,” Walker said. “I am a two-time Sportsmanship Award winner as well. So maybe I should get a little leeway [in voicing displeasure with a call].
Walker added, “I watch a lot of basketball. I see other guys do a lot worse. But like I said, the choice was his and he made it. He got me out of there. What can I do? Just forget about it at this point. We lost, I got ejected and now we got another one tomorrow [in Philadelphia]. Just want to go out there tomorrow, see what we can do and try and get a win.”
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