With the Sacramento Kings holding a five-point lead over the winless and visiting Detroit Pistons early in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night, Kings guard Jimmer Fredette drove into the teeth of the Detroit defense and attempted to dump the ball off to big man Chuck Hayes, but Pistons guard Will Bynum knocked the ball out of bounds. Bodies were packed into the paint, and some clutching and grabbing ensued, with Detroit forward Jonas Jerebko wrapping his arms around the waist of Kings rookie Thomas Robinson.
That didn't last very long:
Robinson's vicious, intentional back elbow caught Jerebko right in the throat, dropping the 25-year-old Swede to the deck like a sack of potatoes and earning him a flagrant-2. That higher grade of flagrant foul carries with it an immediate ejection from the game, which the Kings held on to win, 105-103, at Sleep Train Arena. That marks the first ejection of the new NBA season; congratulations to the 21-year-old forward for the auspicious honor. Robinson had three points, seven rebounds, one steal, one block and three turnovers in 12 minutes of action before getting the gate; Jerebko returned to action and made a 3-pointer shortly thereafter, finishing with seven points, two rebounds and three turnovers in 15 minutes of work.
Jonathan Santiago of Kings blog Cowbell Kingdom offers some background on what might have precipitated the outburst from the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft: "According to those seated courtside, Jonas Jerebko's constant chirping may have led Thomas Robinson to throw the elbow that got him ejected from the game." Robinson wasn't available in the locker room to speak to reporters after the game to confirm that assertion, but regardless, he later apologized for his actions on Twitter. Not sure that soothes a sore throat, but it's a nice enough gesture, I suppose.
After the game, Jerebko said there were no hard feelings, according to The Associated Press: ''It was just in the heat of the game. I'm all right and it's all good. I have nothing against him. I have no problem at all.''
That's fine and well — and big ups to Jonas for not holding a grudge — but it's unlikely to do Robinson much good when the commissioner's office pours him a steaming hot cup of justice. You can bet he'll receive a multi-game suspension for getting his Luda on, a punishment that Kings coach Keith Smart thinks might be the best thing for the rook, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:
"Now he understands I can't do that again," Smart said. "So whatever the punishment that comes from the league office, (if it's) more, that's how you learn. The stove is hot, and he put his hand on the stove and got tossed out of the game. Now he'll learn from that, and you probably won't have that happen again for the next 15 years of his career."
I hereby move that we start calling him Jonas "Hot Stove" Jerebko. All in favor, say "aye" in the comments; all opposed, say "nay" in the comments.
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