Pacers draw four technicals in 52 seconds, rookie Chris Duarte ejected

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  • Indiana Pacers
    Indiana Pacers
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Rick Carlisle
    American basketball player and coach

MINNEAPOLIS — During Indiana's 100-98 loss at Minnesota on Monday, Pacers rookie Chris Duarte drove baseline and missed a layup at the third-quarter buzzer. There was a lot of contact on the play, as Duarte's banged into Timberwolves center Naz Reid and took a hard fall. When he hit the hardwood, Duarte rolled over in the direction of official Jonathan Sterling on the baseline and slapped the ground in frustration. After he got back on his feet, Duarte then had a heated exchange with a slew of Minnesota players, including guard Patrick Beverly, who did not play due to a groin injury. Beverly and teammate Anthony Edwards looked at Sterling and made technical foul signs with theirs hands, partly to further aggravate Duarte but also to really ask for tech to be given out.

Early in the fourth quarter, they got their wish. Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie stole the ball from Duarte near the 3-point line, and Duarte was called for a reach-in foul as Okogie headed the other way. Disagreeing with the call, Duarte screamed at official Eric Lewis and clapped in his direction to receive one tech. As Duarte was being pulled away by teammate Domantas Sabonis, he turned in Lewis' direction again and vehemently slapped himself on the wrist to indicate that Okogie was the one who committed a foul. He was quickly assessed another technical and ejected with 10:09 left in the game. It was the first ejection of Duarte’s young career.

"I just thought that in that situation, what you want to see is a veteran official defuse the situation. Not stare at the guy and dare him to keep talking," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "I thought that Chris was wrong, but officials can walk away in certain situations, and I would've loved to have seen that happen right there."

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Malik Beasley made both technical free throws to give Minnesota an 82-79 lead, and D'Angelo Russell hit a jumper on the ensuing possession to push the lead to 84-79. Less than a minute later, after Sabonis missed a 3-pointer, Pacers backup point guard T.J. McConnell and coach Rick Carlisle were also assessed techs at the 9:17 mark of the fourth quarter. This time Beasley split the free throws to extend his team’s lead to 85-79.

Carlisle said he received his technical because of his defense of Duarte. He did not know why McConnell was assessed a tech.

"(Duarte's) a young player and part of this, I think officials can help players develop by diffusing that situation, so it was unfortunate," Carlisle said. "I'm not pointing the finger at the referee. I'm just saying that's what I would've liked to have seen. That's why I got the technical because I kept pointing that out."

Minnesota's three points off technical free throws proved to be the difference as Indiana, which led 60-48 in the third quarter, lost its seventh game of the season by four points or less.

Duarte's ejection prematurely ended his strong night off the bench. The rookie scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting with three 3s.

Malcolm Brogdon led the Pacers with a team-high 25 points, while Sabonis turned in the first 20-rebound triple-double in franchise history. The two-time all-star had 16 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists.

When asked if he had a conversation with Duarte about his behavior following the loss, Brogdon said he'd speak with him at a later time.

"Not yet, letting the tensions drop," Brogdon said. "But as a rookie (those techs) can't happen. Being a first-year guy you gotta keep your composure, even when you aren't getting fouls called. Whatever it is, you 're not the only person that's happening to, so Chris has to be better."

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Pacers draw four technicals in 52 seconds, Chris Duarte ejected