OKLAHOMA CITY — An assist away from his 15th triple-double of the season, Russell Westbrook was ejected after being hit with two quick technical fouls with 2:50 remaining in the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s 95-88 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, prompting teammate Carmelo Anthony to say he’s “done” with referees.
“I’m done with them,” Anthony said, cutting off a question about the officials. “I’m done with the refs. No disrespect, but I’m done with those guys.”
Westbrook attacked the basket and elevated for a layup, but was hit in the face by De’Aaron Fox swiping down at the ball as the reigning MVP collided with Willie Cauley-Stein midair. Westbrook came back down with the ball, holding his face, and fell to the floor as referee Matt Boland whistled Westbrook for traveling — his 10th turnover of the game. Westbrook popped off the floor and was assessed back-to-back technicals to earn an immediate ejection. He finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists.
Westbrook did not speak with reporters following the game, leaving the locker room before it was open to the media. It marked the second consecutive home game Westbrook has left the arena without speaking with reporters.
Anthony, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the third quarter as the Thunder overcame a 15-point first-half deficit, said last week that communication between players and referees has been an issue this season, as well as a quick trigger with technical fouls.
“The game has changed a lot since I came in 15 years ago — the players and the officials had that dialogue, whether it was good or whether it was bad, there was always a point where they would let you get a little steam off, and then would come to you and say that’s enough, let’s move on,” Anthony said last week. “And now, the trigger is too quick. You look at somebody wrong, you get a technical foul. You say one wrong thing, you get a technical foul. So I think that’s the difference from when I came in — the dialogue and communication and the relationship the players and officials [had] when I first came in and from now is a lot different.”
Following Westbrook’s ejection, Thunder coach Billy Donovan was assessed a technical foul as well. Sacramento’s Buddy Hield hit all three free throws, cutting the Thunder’s lead to eight with 2:50 remaining and with the Kings in possession of the ball.
Asked if he and Westbrook need to be more aware of the situation when picking up technicals, Donovan was direct.
“I don’t, because the official made a terrible mistake, and he acknowledged it,” Donovan said. “I was yelling to the other official across the floor to get his attention and the guy just T’d me up. And he came by and apologized to me, so I definitely didn’t deserve a T. I know when I deserve one. I didn’t get a full glimpse to see what Russell did at that moment, so I’m not going to comment for him, but I know what happened with me and that was really, really unfortunate and [the official] even acknowledged that.
“I was yelling to the other official and he had every opportunity to say, ‘Billy, wait a second, we’ll get to you,’ but he just turned and T’d me up. I’ve been doing this long enough, I know when I’m getting close to a T, or when I deserve a T — that was totally undeserved and should not have been called.”