A matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night brought some heated interactions between opponents. Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson got into it early in the contest with Thompson ultimately getting ejected later on due to a slap on Jae Crowder’s behind.
Thompson ejected following slap to Crowder’s behind
The ejection came late in the third quarter as the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson was shooting free throws. As Thompson hit the first of his shots, personnel on the court began to move past him including Jae Crowder. As Crowder walked past, Thompson gave him a slap to the backside with Crowder reacting by using his hand to fend off Thompson.
After the slap occurred, Crowder stood in place looking towards referee Evan Scott at the baseline for some sort of call. He let the incident go. However, the official to the side of the court, J.T. Orr, blew the whistle to give Thompson the technical.
Thompson, Crowder received earlier technicals
The two players got into it early in the Cavs vs. Grizzlies game. In just the first quarter, they were whistled for double technicals as they got into each others’ faces. That occurred shortly after a play in which Crowder knocked Thompson to the court on a call that went against the Cavs’ big man.
Crowder stepped over Thompson, something which many NBA players take exception to, and the words started as Crowder was at the free-throw line.
According to Thompson, it was “just competitive jawing” with “nothing negative” in the exchange.
The two players were former teammates when Jae Crowder was a member of the Cavs’ roster in the 2017-18 season. He’d remain part of the team for 53 games until a trade sent him to the Utah Jazz. However, they appeared to be some sort of beef going on between him and Thompson.
The third quarter slapping incident at the free-throw line was Thompson’s second tech of the game. It also resulted in his ejection from the game. He was ejected late in the third and once he headed back to the locker room, teammate John Henson shot and made the second of Thompson’s free throws.
Lead official Kenny Mauer explained the ejection was due to “The physical taunt, the slap to the backside of Jae Crowder.”
— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) January 18, 2020
The Grizzlies would go on to win the game, 113-109. Dillon Brooks led Memphis with 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting. Crowder finished with nine points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Thompson had three points and eight assists in his 25 minutes of game time.
According to a report from Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, Thompson said he didn’t think the technical was necessary for the slap to Crowder’s behind. He also said he plans to appeal to the NBA Players Association.
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) January 18, 2020
“Former teammate of mine. So we have history and it was just a little competitive spirit,” Thompson said when explaining the incident later.
“They might have taken it the wrong way probably because they forgot that. I don’t know, we were teammates for half the year, so it feels like playing anyone else, like if I was playing Kyrie (Irving) or something. The same thing. They teched us. I’m definitely calling the PA (Players Association) to appeal that — one thousand percent.”
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