There are many ways for NBA coaches to show their frustration during games. They can yell at referees about a perceived lack of fairness. They can stew about it on the bench. Or they can suppress it, act like everything's fine, crack under the pressure over time, and eventually get fired. Choose whichever option works best for you!
One thing they can't do, though, is kick a ball during a game. That's a technical foul, at least, and very likely an ejection. On Wednesday night, with the Dallas Mavericks down 73-67 to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the 9:40 mark the fourth quarter, Russell Westbrook finished a breakaway dunk with such force that the ball bounced towards Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. In a very casual move, Carlisle brought back his leg and kicked it with a decent amount of force. He already had one technical, so that decision earned him a second tech and automatic ejection from the game. Check out the video above from the Yahoo! Sports Minute.
He apologized for his actions after the game. From the Associated Press:
Carlisle apologized to owner Mark Cuban and the fans after the game, saying, "The incident where the ball got kicked into the stands, that can't happen. My intent was not to kick it into the stands. I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I'm not a very good kick. … That's a regrettable situation."
Well, kicking it to the referee also would have been a technical, so it's not as if the execution was the only problem. He still hurt the team, even if he didn't mean to put anyone in the crowd in danger. To Carlisle's credit, he immediately checked on the fans to make sure they were all right.
Of course, maybe there's an argument that, as long as no one got hurt, creating a memorably bizarre moment like this one is more valuable than coaching Dallas for eight minutes of game time in a largely meaningless game during a pretty weird compressed season. Perhaps you won in the long run, Rick.