Coach Billy Donovan and superstar guard Russell Westbrook received a fine of $15,000 each from the NBA after they criticized how Carmelo Anthony was ejected in the Thunder’s game against the Blazers on Sunday.
According to the report, NBA affirmed its earlier assessment of a flagrant 2 foul on Anthony after making contact with his elbow on the face of Jusuf Nurkic in the third quarter. Westbrook was also assessed with a flagrant but it was downgraded to a common foul.
A flagrant 2 warrants an automatic ejection.
When asked by reporters after the game, Westbrook didn’t mince words as he described the ruling as a “bunch of bulls—t,” among other things.
Donovan echoed Westbrook’s thoughts as he said that what the referees did in that game was unprecedented because historically, it’s the defensive player who’s going to be slapped with a flagrant 2. What happened was Anthony was trying to score the ball and got into contact with Nurkic and even get an and-1 play.
He said that NBA should probably review that play to determine if the referees made the correct call.
Anthony, meanwhile, was smarter by not criticizing the officials about throwing him out of the game. Cornered by reporters, he said that he has no opinions on the matter. “I think the league will do what’s right.”
The NBA officials, however, stood by the ruling of the referees as they still think that the former Knick wasn’t making a basketball play; thus, imposing fine was applicable.
“We reviewed it, the same as we review all plays of this nature, and agree with the on-court officials that the foul met the criteria of hard contact above the shoulders with high potential for injury,” Tim Frank, spokesperson of the NBA, said, adding that Anthony purposely stuck his elbow to the face which is a “dangerous and reckless” move.