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Last week we discussed the terrible, no-good March that Milwaukee Bucks forward Larry Sanders was working through. Though his production was admirable – 12 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks in only 31 minutes a contest – Sanders earned a series of ejections and fines for his back and forth with referees, leading us to wonder if he was turning into a hot-head along the lines of the notorious Rasheed Wallace. Wallace is wrapping up a fantastic career, but you always wondered what could have been with Sheed were he able to fully focus his efforts on his significant all-around gifts and stay away from collaborations with the referees.
To Sheed’s credit, though, he never elbowed a referee on the opening play of the game.
(We keed, we keed. It was clearly an accident when Sanders inadvertently knocked longtime ref Bill Kennedy with a stray elbow after going for the opening tip. Via The Point Forward, take a look at the carnage.)
It’s hard to believe that this doesn’t happen more often. Though refs are skilled at tossing jump balls and they have thousands and thousands of tosses to their credit both in games and in practice, it’s fair to say that no two tosses are ever the same. This leads to unpredictability, and for a top big man in Sanders attempting to lead his team one step closer to a playoff berth, these sorts of accidents can happen.
Kennedy, to his credit, stayed in the contest after needing an officials’ timeout in order to lose the wooze that comes from getting knocked in the head by the game’s leading shot-blocker without ever seeing it coming.
And the mistake shouldn’t take away from what was probably the best offensive night of Sanders’ three-year career. Watch his third quarter throwdown here:
Sanders put up a career-high 24 points and 13 rebounds in just 31 minutes of play during Milwaukee’s 131-102 rout of Charlotte. Weirdly, he didn’t technically register a block. Though we’re sure Bill Kennedy would take exception to that part of his stat line.