If you asked me to bet on which NBA player would earn the first ejection following Metta World Peace's highly publicized tossing after firing an elbow into the head of James Harden on Sunday afternoon, I probably would have guessed Larry Sanders. After all, the Milwaukee Bucks center has gotten himself run twice in the past two weeks, once for arguing against the Oklahoma City Thunder and once for nearly starting a brawl against the Indiana Pacers. He's not the most violent sort — his play of late has been more whiny/upset than thorough/scary — but given his recent run-ins with NBA law, he seemed like a pretty decent bet.
As it turns out, you guys should have asked me; you'd have taken all my money. Because the answer — obviously, cosmically, perfectly — was Tyrus Thomas, who exited, stage left, after elbowing, stage face, James Singleton in the closing seconds of the opening quarter of Monday's a-capella-friendly avert-your-eyes matchup between the Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards. Behold:
The elbow/ejection continues what you might say has not been a good month for Thomas.
More on the play, from Rachel Shuster at USA Today:
Thomas [...] was dribbling and Singleton defending in front when Thomas swung his elbows and brushed across Singleton's face with 3.6 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Thomas was called for a flagrant foul and Singleton made two free throws.
"We made contact. A basketball play happened," Thomas said. [...]
Singleton admitted to being shaken up on the play.
"He connected. It had me a little woozy for a second," Singleton said.
The dual confirmation of the chin-check came after some viewers questioned Singleton's bona fides — the camera angles shown on the CSN Washington broadcast during the game made it difficult to actually see whether either of Thomas' elbows definitively connected with Singleton's mug. Plus, there wasn't much in the way of visual evidence of a direct hit, unlike when Jrue Holiday got tagged by Sundiata Gaines' inadvertent/no ejection 'bow. (I'm sure Jrue would gladly trade places with James.)
After the game, Singleton angrily responded to skeptics in comments to Michael Lee of the Washington Post: "Anyone who thought he didn't connect, come see me. We can reenact it." So if we've got any doubting Thomases in the BDL readership — or just anyone who'd like to be elbowed in the jaw by a 6-foot-8, 215-pound professional athlete, I guess — we can make that happen.
Runner-up in the Ejection Games? DeMar DeRozan, who would have been a pretty amazing longshot, what with his zero career ejections entering Monday night. The Toronto Raptors guard was chucked for demonstratively throwing down the ball in protest of a traveling call during the second quarter of the Raptors' Monday night loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
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