Generally speaking, hustle is a good thing. You'd much rather see an NBA player working hard and giving it his all in the service of trying to help his team win than taking it easy out there; we love it when players purport to give 110 percent, despite the fundamental impossibility of even suggesting such a thing, because it lets us know that even though NBA dudes (well, most of them) are athletically gifted in a way to which we (well, most of us) can't really relate, they're still grinding and striving, just like the rest of us.
If you're an official running down the sideline as two players work to track down a loose ball, though, you might not enjoy hustle quite so much. I sure as heck wouldn't blame referee Michael Smith for wishing Oklahoma City Thunder reserve Reggie Jackson and Chicago Bulls guard D.J. Augustin — Augustin more than Jackson, really — took it down a notch late in the second quarter of Thursday night's game:
Jackson had a step on Augustin, leading the recently signed Bulls guard to try to work his way past the OKC sixth man to try to shag down an extra possession in a (somewhat surprisingly) tightly contested game. That resulted in a bump that barely seemed to register with the 6-foot-3, 208-pound Jackson, but sent the 6-foot, 183-pound Augustin hurtling toward the Bulls bench ... and into the legs of the loping Smith, who promptly went keister over tea-kettle and hit the deck hard.
Thankfully, Smith came away from the inadvertent collision none the worse for wear, receiving a round of applause from the Chesapeake Energy Arena faithful for his ability to grit it out and ref through pain. As a matter of fact, he didn't miss a beat at all — he whistled Jackson for an offensive foul on the bump from his backside:
Well played, Mr. Smith, and best of luck staying upright from here on out. Same for you, D.J. — the Bulls are already without point guards Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich, entered Thursday without starting small forward Luol Deng, and lost swingman Jimmy Butler to a rolled right ankle in the first half. The bodies are dropping like flies and you've played all of four games as a Bull, so maybe take it easy out there, huh? Even on a Tom Thibodeau defense, there might be such a thing as too much hustle.
Hat-tip to Beyond the Buzzer.
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