The Indiana Pacers defeated the Utah Jazz 111-110 on Thursday, Nov. 11. But that wasn’t the lead story. Pacers center Myles Turner and Jazz big man Rudy Gobert got into a little thing and were both ejected from the game.
You can’t call it a fight, as nobody threw punches and all that happened was a little shoving and some grabbing.
It all started when Turner blocked Gobert at the rim in the fourth quarter. As Gobert was falling to the ground, after the block, he pulled Turner down to the ground with him.
Obviously Gobert thought he was fouled, which is why he pulled Turner down.
Turner responded by shoving Gobert in the back, which led the Jazz big man to bear hug Turner and try to wrestle him to the floor.
Gobert’s teammates Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles got involved and were also ejected.
Following the game, Turner said the fault was with Gobert.
“I had to stand up for myself in that situation,” Turner said. “I don’t think I did anything wrong. But that’s not for me to decide. We’ll talk to the league and see what happens from there.”
Naturally, Gobert saw things differently. Commenting on the officials, the three-time defensive player of the year said, “[they] allow guys to do way too much s—.”
All of this is on the heels of the Nikola Jokic and Markieff Morris situation earlier this week, when the Denver Nuggets played the Miami Heat.
Late in the game Morris put a hard foul on Jokic, and the reigning MVP leveled Morris from behind. The benches cleared and everyone was jawing and posturing.
For what it’s worth, Jokic was suspended for a game and Morris was fined.
This latest incident bears watching. Gobert complained that the officials are letting players get away with too much.
The rule changes implemented by the NBA have been interpreted by the officials in a way that allows a lot more contact to happen without foul calls.
Players are noticing it, and not everyone is happy.
Of course physical defenders love it, but players are being hit, and what used to be fouls are not being called, and there is frustration.
The NBA is a hyper-competitive league with a lot of alpha males and testosterone in intense situations. When players feel like they’re being fouled and not getting calls, eventually they react and handle things themselves.
No need for serious alarm bells. But NBA commissioner Adam Silver and head of referee development and training Monty McCutchen are no doubt keeping a close eye on things. We’re only about 12 games into the season, but a bit of a course correction with officials may be coming.
The NBA is extremely sensitive about fighting or the threat of fighting, as it can have a severe impact on the bottom line.
But if you’ve been a fan of the NBA you know none of these players actually want to fight on the court. Gobert echoed that belief after the game, saying most guys “aren’t about that life.”
“Guys need to stop acting like they going to fight. They know in 2 seconds there’s going to be 20 security guards in between us. Guys that are not about that life need to stop acting like they are…If somebody wants to fight, I’m easy to reach.”
GOBERT: "Guys need to stop acting like they going to fight. They know in 2 seconds there's going to be 20 security guards in between us. Guys that are not about that life need to stop acting like they are…If somebody wants to fight, I'm easy to reach." pic.twitter.com/HpydKcN58L
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 12, 2021
Those sound like fighting words!