Already playing without All-Star Pau Gasol, the Chicago Bulls were forced to finish the pivotal Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers without his replacement in the starting lineup. Veteran Taj Gibson was ejected with 10:25 remaining in the fourth quarter after kicking Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova in the aftermath of a loose ball along the baseline. Referees reviewed the play and saw that Gibson had kicked the second-year guard while he was on the ground, causing them to call a flagrant-2 foul that triggers an automatic ejection.
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However, replays showed that Dellavedova may have been partially responsible for the kick. As the two tangled, the 24-year-old appeared to employ some veteran trickery by closing his two legs to trap Gibson. He appeared to kick Dellavedova as he tried to free himself, although that doesn't exactly excuse the action. Take a look:
The decision to eject Gibson is not surprising given that he kicked a player while he was on the ground, but it did seem curious that Dellavedova did not receive any punishment for a very clear leg lock. It would not be surprising to see one or both players receive further notice from the league after Game 5.
The internet offered its own swift response via its preferred method of goofy memes:
Dellavedova made both flagrant free throws to extend the Cavaliers' lead to 85-73. Cleveland eventually built the lead to 17 points before Chicago cut the margin to just two points with 1:17 remaining. Nevertheless, the Cavs held on for a 106-101 win and 3-2 series lead.
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