The first half of the Los Angeles Lakers loss to the New Orleans Pelicans was full of drama, intensity, and plenty of technical fouls and ejections. The first was a double ejection of two former Boston Celtics point guards in Rajon Rondo and Isaiah Thomas.
The scuffle started away from the ball when Rondo elbowed Thomas in the face, for which he received a Flagrant 1 foul. Thomas would hit a free throw, and just as game resumed, Rondo picked up another foul and the two had to be separated.
Rondo then began to walk toward Thomas, and the referees, rather quickly, chose to eject both. After the game, Thomas explained things from his point of view and said he doesn’t understand why he was ejected, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“He had, I don’t know what was going on with him, but I don’t know why I got thrown out. I don’t want to comment too much on it, but it was obvious what was going on. He was being too aggressive for whatever reason. And then he also hit me in my face three times. At some point, like as a human, if nobody is going to protect me, I’ve got to protect myself. That’s when I spoke up and got upset. I hope the NBA figures something out with that, because it was wrong for me to get ejected. All I want to do is hoop, man. I’m on a new team, I’m trying to get acclimated with my teammates. For me to get ejected for really saying nothing and trying to just protect myself, is not right.”
Thomas added that Rondo brought up the issues from earlier this season about the Celtics’ plans to play a tribute video for Thomas:
“He brought it up. I mean, for whatever reason he’s an upset guy about me. But it’s fine. I can’t control that. He kept bringing the tribute up, when I was the one who shut the tribute down. I mean, I’m far past that. I’m on the Lakers, trying to figure out how to help this team win. For the things that happened today happening and me to get ejected, is uncalled for.”
Thomas is hopeful that his technical fouls get rescinded once the league reviews them, but that won’t be known until tomorrow. Lakers head coach Luke Walton’s certainly won’t be as he let the referees have it after many frustrations boiled over.
Losing Thomas was a big blow for the Lakers, especially as Walton has seemed to shorten the rotation, playing only eight players for the most part. Thomas will be able to turn right around and move on from it as the Lakers play the Timberwolves on Thursday in their last game before All-Star Weekend.
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