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Demarcus Cousins Handed Questionable Ejection for Elbowing Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)
New Orleans Pelicans center Demarcus Cousins was ejected from Monday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder after elbowing reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook in the head.
As you may know, almost every time somebody gets ejected in the NBA there’s debate as to whether it was truly merited. This case is no exception.
The elbow came midway through the third quarter. Cousins grabbed a rebound underneath the Pelicans basket and held the ball above his head. When Westbrook reached in to try to strip the ball, Cousins twisted and hit Westbrook with his elbow. Westbrook then fell to the floor grabbing the back of his head.
Initially the hit looks absolutely vicious. However, other angles show that Cousins actually got Westbrook’s shoulder first, and that the actual contact with his head was minimal. Nevertheless, after reviewing the play, the referees slapped Cousins with a flagrant foul 2, which comes with an automatic ejection.
Take a look:
Since you’re probably wondering, here’s what the NBA rulebook says about flagrant fouls:
A flagrant foul-penalty (1) is unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.
A flagrant foul-penalty (2) is unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent. It is an unsportsmanlike act and the offender is ejected immediately.
Note, the definitions of flagrant 1 or flagrant 2 don’t say anything about intent. Whether the contact is an accident is irrelevant. So the question here is simply, was Cousins elbow (1) unnecessary, (2) excessive, and (3) unsportsmanlike?
Cousins certainly didn’t think so. You don’t have to be a lip-reading expert to see he immediately accused Westbrook of flopping.
His Pelicans got their revenge, though. They trailed 76-72 when Boogie was ejected, then immediately went on an 11-3 run and wound up winning the game 114-107 without their superstar center.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]