Rick Carlisle has appeared in 125 playoff games during his career as an NBA head coach. The majority of those games—63 of them—have come at the helm of the Dallas Mavericks. Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, Carlisle experienced a first in his long playoff history.
With 6:42 remaining in the third quarter and Tim Hardaway Jr. at the free throw line, Carlisle took umbrage with a call from the referees. He approached crew chief Kane Fitzgerald about it and became demonstrative. Moments later Fitzgerald tossed Carlisle, marking the first time in his career that he’s been ejected from a playoff game.
“The play where I was ejected — what I saw was that Hardaway had the ball and then a timeout was called by the official,” Carlisle said. “My understanding in that situation is that once the shooter has the ball, timeout cannot be called by the opposing coach.
“I thought that the call was wrong, and so I was asking about it and wasn’t getting a great explanation. Then it turned into a technical and another technical. I’m just standing up for my team. That was my take on that situation.”
After the game, the NBA released a pool report of the incident. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon conducted the interview with Fitzgerald.
QUESTION: WHY WERE THE CLIPPERS ALLOWED THE TIMEOUT AFTER TIM HARDAWAY JR. WAS HANDED THE BALL?
FITZGERALD: “That was actually not the sequence of events. Doc (Rivers) requested the timeout and Pat (Fraher) recognized the timeout prior to Hardaway receiving the ball. This was reconfirmed via video postgame.”
QUESTION: WHY WAS COACH RICK CARLISLE EJECTED?
FITZGERALD: “He received two technical fouls for excessive arguing and profanity, which is an automatic ejection.”
Officiating crews have left their mark on play inside the bubble in both the seeding games and now the playoffs, for better or worse. Dallas’ game against the Los Angeles saw a total of six technical fouls and one flagrant-one foul called by the referees.
At the time Carlisle was ejected, the Mavericks trailed by 25 points, 93-68. They eventually lost to the Clippers, 154-111. It was the most points the Mavs have ever given up to an opponent in the playoffs.