If I told you Tim Duncan got thrown out of a game by collecting two technical fouls, you may think he did something outrageous. And wouldn't he have to? The mild-mannered former MVP is a polar opposite to the typical loud-mouth NBA superstar. In fact the Spurs are often criticized as a boring team because they don't have a flashy star. Instead Duncan is consistent and workmanlike while guiding San Antonio to yet another successful season.
So when referree Joey Crawford T-ed up Duncan for laughing - his second technical of the afternoon - late in the Mavs-Spurs game, I was shocked. Duncan wasn't even on the court at the time. He sat on the bench when Crawford issued T2.
Sure I didn't mind seeing the Spurs without their best player (hey, I've got a home town to root for, here!), but I just didn't see what had happened. Did I miss something? It looked like he was just snickering at a call, and Crawford throws him out? What the heck?
I know refs have been more strict on limiting back-talk and arguments from players, but the drama of too-many-techs seemed to die down after the winter. Duncan was ejected for picking up two techincals for only the second time in his nine-year career. That should tell you something.
This is a guy who did nothing more than laugh at the call. And he wasn't even on the court!
On paper this game had little meaning. The Mavs have already clinched home court throughout the playoffs, and the Spurs were a long-shot to catch the Suns for the second seed in the Western Conference (Phoenix plays Houston then hosts the Clippers to end their season). The Spurs still had an outside chance, however, to move up from that 3-seed. Throwing out Duncan is a horrible way to strip San Antonio of that opportunity.
When these two teams meet up, be it November or late May, it's important. It's the biggest rivalry in Texas in all of professional sports (granted there isn't much else since the Oilers left for Tennessee). I don't want to see Dallas against a tossed-Tim. I was Dirk vs. Duncan in the battle for the Lone Star State.
Crawford needs to learn to swallow his whistle. It's not just Duncan who's laughing at him; I agree with the big man. Crawford is a joke.