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Pistons’ Hamidou Diallo ejected against Celtics, but did he deserve it?

Boston Celtics v Detroit Pistons

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 26: Hamidou Diallo #6 of the Detroit Pistons takes a first half shot over Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics at Little Caesars Arena on February 26, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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By the letter of the law, Hamidou Diallo deserved to be ejected from the Pistons matinee Saturday against the Celtics. He made contact with an official.

Whether he deserved an ejection for this contact is another question.

The play came midway through the second quarter. Boston’s Derrick White had a 3-pointer tipped, and Diallo made a leaping play to keep the ball inbounds and send the Pistons the other way. As he tried to gain his balance going back up court, Diallo put his hand out and touched referee Suyash Mehta, who whistled him for the technical.

This could have been interpreted as pushing the referee. As Brian Scalabrine notes on the broadcast, Diallo could also be trying to use the referee to keep his balance and gain a little momentum going back up the court.

The rule for contact with an official is an ejection. Sometimes the letter of the law and the spirit of it don’t match up. This felt more like it could have been a foul and not seen a player ejected over it; in my eyes it didn’t rise to that level.