Kristaps Porzingis Says He Doesn't Believe He Should've Been Ejected vs Clippers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Dallas Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis (6) leaves the court after being ejected from Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

The biggest story of the Los Angeles Clippers' 118-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Monday's Game 1 of their first-round playoff series wasn't the play of Kawhi Leonard or the championship contenders notching an early win.

Rather, it was Kristaps Porzingis' controversial ejection in the third quarter after he picked up a second technical foul for a slight shove toward Marcus Morris Sr. after the Clippers forward grabbed and jawed at Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Kristaps Porzingis was ejected after he received his second tech. https://t.co/aQoJcrI8KE

"No, of course not," Porzingis told reporters when asked if he deserved the second technical foul. "But I understand. We got into it a little bit. I saw him getting into Luka's face, and I didn't like that. That's why I reacted."

He also admitted he has to "be smarter and control my emotions."

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Porzingis breaks down what he made of his ejection https://t.co/mzJAi012vA

Doncic and head coach Rick Carlisle also talked about the ejection, with the former saying "I don't think it was fair to kick him out of the game, especially in the playoffs" and the latter calling it "unfortunate" and a learning opportunity:

Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina

Luka Doncic on KP’s ejection, his emotions and what he made of his playoff performance https://t.co/BKsZZJBWnG

Brad Townsend @townbrad

Carlisle on the Porzingis techs. https://t.co/eSxsYP5xba

Both of them recognized Porzingis was just protecting his teammate on the second technical, which Doncic said he appreciated, but Carlisle pointed out the big man failed to control his emotions on the first technical.

It was a difficult blow for Dallas, which was leading by five points in the third quarter at the time of the ejection after battling back from an early 18-2 deficit.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated shared the pool report interview with officiating crew chief Kane Fitzgerald in which Fitzgerald said the second technical foul was assessed because Porzingis was "being an escalator to the altercation which was confirmed via replay."

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears


Doncic fought through turnover issues to finish with 42 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals, but it wasn't enough to counter the combined efforts of Kawhi Leonard (29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals) and Paul George (27 points).

Perhaps the game would have played out differently if Doncic had the other half of Dallas' impressive duo in the key matchup, but that wasn't the case after the controversial call that drew criticism from LeBron James and many others:

LeBron James @KingJames

Man that was BOGUS AS HELL MAN!!!!! Cmon man. 🤦🏾‍♂️

Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks

🗣🗣 SUPER https://t.co/79uuTXx3as

Michael Wilbon @RealMikeWilbon

Really really really really dumb and stupid and lazy and unfair to eject Porzingis for THAT...just hideously wrong and lazy on every level.

The Mavericks can at least take solace knowing they were leading the game after bouncing back from multiple Clippers runs until Porzingis was ejected. If they can replicate that effort, this may be a long series even with L.A.'s championship aspirations.

Game 2 is Wednesday.