The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped the first of a three game road trip Sunday night with a 103-99 loss at Portland.
OKC found themselves trailing by as many as 11 points but faught their way back to put the game within reach during the closing minutes. Missing from the Thunder’s near comeback was All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony who was ejected in the third quarter on a controversial play.
Melo made contact with Portland big man Jusuf Nurkic while driving for a layup and was initially awarded an and-1 call. However, following a video review of the play, Anthony was charged with a flagrant two foul and subsequently disqualified from the game.
Following the game, officiating crew chief defended the decision to tag Anthony with a flagrant two.
“We deemed that the contact was excessive and that it was not a natural basketball move where he seeks out Nurkic, hits him in the face with an elbow and goes back to the basket,” Mott said. “So because it’s unnatural and it’s deemed excessive, therefore it is a flagrant foul penalty two.”
Perhaps out of fear of repercussions from the league office, or just not wanting to speak out of frustration, Carmelo Anthony refused to talk about the play during post game interviews.
“I don’t have no thoughts,” Anthony told reporters. “I don’t have anything to say about that play. I think the league will do what’s right.”
While Anthony was reserved on the matter, his coach and teammate Russell Westbrook didn’t hold back.
“I’ve never seen in the history of the game a guy get an and-1 play and then get ejected from the game,” Billy Donovan told reporters. “That’s probably something you’ve got to talk to the league about.”
“It’s nonsense, man,” Westbrook said. “It don’t make any sense.”
“I got hit in the face, they didn’t review it as they should,” Westbrook said, referring to an earlier incident when he was knocked to the floor on a reach-in by Portland’s Noah Vonleh. “I just think that when it’s us, our team, myself, they don’t do the same thing they do. Last game, tipped ball, against Celtics, I accidentally hit the guy in the face, flagrant foul on me. It was an accident, but I hit him. I actually got hit in the face today, nobody looks at it. Melo goes, hits Nurkic, they go review. It’s a bunch of bulls—.