LOS ANGELES — Fred Hoiberg’s first ejection as coach was met with some bewilderment from the players who were there and even Hoiberg himself.
In the aftermath of a tough call against Jimmy Butler while he was guarding Clippers forward Blake Griffin, the Bulls found themselves out of possessions and out of time in their 102-95 loss at Staples Center.
“Taj got a technical, I got a technical, I’ll leave it at that,” said Hoiberg, who was then asked if he could get thrown out of a game for one technical foul.
His reply: “I guess.”
Hoiberg had some words for official Marc Davis but according to all who were near, it didn’t warrant being thrown out — and given the nature of Hoiberg’s beef being a sketchy call, usually coaches are given more latitude in that situation.
More than a couple Bulls players suggested if the coach in question were Doc Rivers or Gregg Popovich, he would’ve been allowed to have his say.
Bulls guard Dwyane Wade tried to get an explanation from Davis, an official who certainly has his detractors across the league. Wade felt Davis should’ve diffused the situation as opposed to inciting it.
“As a veteran guy, I was trying to explain to Marc the situation,” Wade said. “It’s a very emotional game, you have two teams giving everything, especially us. That was a tough call and Marc has to be the bigger person and not walk to the technical fouls. He has to walk away and that’s what I was explaining.”
Taj Gibson was initially hit with a technical and then Hoiberg was tagged, presumably twice. But Wade said Hoiberg didn’t as much as raise his voice to Davis, which considering Hoiberg’s nature, isn’t that hard to believe.
“As someone who’s been in the league a long time, I understand. (But) you have to give us that. That’s all I was doing,” Wade said. “I had a respectful conversation but the damage was done by then. Just trying to get our point across from our team. We don’t have bad guys. Coach--Fred ain’t yelling at nobody. He wasn’t yelling. I was right there and barely heard him. That’s something Marc had to walk away from him.”
Gibson was as surprised and probably even more frustrated but wouldn’t blame the loss on Davis or any official, despite the Butler foul being so critical to the Bulls staying within one possession had they come up with a defensive rebound.
Gibson did say that Davis “bailed (Griffin) out” after Butler’s solid defensive effort.
“Marc is, one thing about Marc, he’s a good ref sometimes,” Gibson said. “Everybody’s not perfect. Calls are gonna be made. Players gotta play the game. Can’t blame Marc for that one mishap, we had a whole game to try to win the game. But that play was so intense and down to the wire, that’s why everybody was so (ticked) off.”