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NBA Official explains Blake Griffin ejection vs. Hawks

NBA referees are instructed to allow players some leeway in the heat of the moment. Rather than dole out technical fouls for every complaint about a call or no-call and every utterance of trash talk between opposing teams, the league has chosen to acknowledge the inevitabilities accompanied with adults playing a competitive sport. Why Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin was ejected in his team’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, then, doesn’t seem to make sense.

The Detroit Pistons All-Star received his second technical foul, earning an automatic ejection, for talking to the Hawks’ bench after draining a three-pointer with 4:21 left in the third quarter. Griffin had been assessed his first technical just 37 seconds earlier.

Following the game, officiating crew chief Josh Tiven explained why Griffin was given his second technical

“After his three-point basket, Blake yells in a taunting manner at the Atlanta bench, using vulgarity,” he said, per James Edwards III of The Athletic. “This was seen and heard by the official, and Blake received a taunting technical foul, which was his second of the game. Therefore, he was ejected.”

Fortunately for the Pistons, they didn’t need Griffin to close out the Hawks after opening up a double-digit lead prior to his ejection. Detroit beat Atlanta 125-122 after Thon Maker, subbed into the game for Griffin upon his ouster, hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining, the last points scored in the game.

The Pistons, 27-30, need every win they can get down the season’s final stretch, too. They’re now one game up on the Miami Heat for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.