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Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson shoves referee after losing ball, gets hit with technical foul

Jordan Clarkson, Jazz, Suns

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was hit with a technical foul for shoving a referee during Thursday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns. The interaction occurred on a play in which Clarkson initially stole an inbounds pass from the Suns in the backcourt. Unable to keep a handle on the ball, the guard careened towards the sideline and inadvertently ran into the official; however, he would compound his mistake by shoving the ref in apparent frustration.

While contact with referees is strictly prohibited according to league rules, it was unlikely that Clarkson would have incurred a penalty for the Jazz due to the initial contact as it was accidental. The shove afterward, though, was clearly not. Watch the play and decide for yourself below:

While Clarkson was apparently frustrated in the moment at the loss of the ball, the rest of the guard’s performance Thursday night likely didn’t help. Despite entering the match averaging 18 points on 49% shooting, the guard has been stymied by the Suns through much of the contest, gaining only nine points on 4-10 shooting through three quarters. For a Jazz team sorely in need of offensive production, any dip in scoring from one of their backcourt players will likely impede their chance to win, a fact Clarkson is almost certainly aware of.

Though he was allowed to stay in the game, there does remain a possibility that Clarkson could see additional punishment from the league as a result of the shove. With the NBA highly protective of its officials–fining players and coaches for even publicly criticizing them–it seems fair to wonder if Clarkson’s wallet will be considerably lighter heading into the new year. “Act now, pay later” is a mantra the Jazz guard seems to have taken to heart heading into 2021.

The Jazz are part of a very fluid NBA in which the early season has produced a lot of jarring and unexpected outcomes. Clarkson, like the Jazz, still has plenty of time to settle down… but the process of renewal must unfold steadily.