CHICAGO – Near the end of the Indiana-Chicago game Saturday night at United Center, Carlos Boozer and Chris Copeland exchanged some shoves and some words. Wham! Bam! Referee Marc Davis got them T’d up, ejected and off the floor quickly, and upheld it all after a replay review.
Many in attendance, especially some former players now in the employ of the two teams, and in the locker rooms were a little startled at the severity of the penalties.
“Honestly, I have never been ejected from anything a day in my life,” Copeland said afterward, welcoming the chance to give his interpretation. “It’s not who I am, it’s not what I’m about. But I felt like at the end of the game, I felt him push me in my back after the play was over. I felt it was unnecessary. I’m not here for that.
“I didn’t think it was an ejection-type situation. I thought it was just, you push me, I push you back.”
It was woofing, all bark, no bite. From the refs’ standpoint, it might have made sense to douse things before a fuse could get lit, given the history of orneriness and vague dislike between the two teams, as well as a game that already was decided if not quite over.
Problem is, the technical fouls will cost Boozer and Copeland $2,000 each, the ejections cost another $2,000 and both count toward their season totals, which can lead to escalating fines, unless something gets rescinded from the league office Monday. Some longtime observers in the arena thought dueling technicals, one each, might have been more appropriate.
“I respect [the decision],” Copeland said. “I just hope it’s not anything serious.
“I just wanted to defend myself as a human, blindsided, cheap-shot pushed in the back. I felt that’s not cool, I’m not going to let you do that.”
The technicals and the ejections were the first each this season for both players. Already this season, the NBA has rescinded technical fouls called in the moment against Carmelo Anthony (Oct. 30 vs. Milwaukee) and Isaiah Thomas (Nov. 1 vs. the Clippers).