The New Orleans Pelicans pulled off a stunning 24-point comeback on Saturday afternoon to beat the Boston Celtics in overtime, 120-115. While the end of the game was somewhat marred by incessant reviews, it was still a brilliant display from some of the league’s brightest young stars.
Unfortunately, the actual play on the court wasn’t the only story from this one. JJ Redick’s strange ejection early in the fourth quarter is also drawing plenty of attention for all the wrong reasons.
On the first possession of the fourth quarter, Redick received a technical foul for complaining. Pretty standard stuff. It was the next trip down the floor where things really got weird. Redick tried to drive to the basket and was fouled by Celtics rookie Aaron Nesmith. He then spun the ball back toward the ref, and was immediately given a second technical and ejected.
Redick couldn’t believe what was happening, and even the announcers were confused, suggesting that Redick must have said something to earn the exit. However, it turned out that wasn’t the issue at all. The referee believed Redick threw the ball too hard at him, saying after the game that the technical was issued for “throwing the ball in the direction of an official with force.”
Now, was it the softest toss of all time? Obviously not. Redick was clearly still frustrated and put a little more on that spin than he probably should have. But was it something that deserved an ejection? Obviously not. The only reason it ended up hitting the ref on the leg is because he wasn’t looking. If he was ready for the ball he could have easily caught it and then there wouldn’t have been an issue.
The good news for Redick at least was that the Pelicans managed to come away with the win, so this incident didn’t end up costing his team. Still, it’s a bit of a shame that this is taking away from what was a fun game.