Isaiah Thomas has a reputation in the NBA as one of the hardest-working players, especially given his diminutive size. What he doesn’t have, however, is a reputation for playing dirty.
The Boston Celtics point guard got an early exit from Sunday night’s game against the Miami Heat after being assessed a flagrant-2 for an elbow to the face of Heat guard Justise Winslow.
Thomas attempted to clear some space between himself and Winslow along the perimeter when his elbow caught Winslow in the kisser, bloodying the Heat guard in the process. Referee Tony Brothers whistled Thomas for a foul, and then the officiating crew went to the replay system in order to determine whether it was a flagrant foul. NBA replay officials indeed hit Thomas with a flagrant-2, ending the Celtics guard’s night.
Thomas didn’t agree with the call, and that it happened with only a few minutes to play in the fourth quarter probably didn’t help, either.
“It was just a regular basketball move that I do every game,” Thomas told reporters, per the Boston Herald. “I just happened to connect. I mean, I don’t mess with no elbows. I’m far from a dirty player, so it sucks the NBA makes, I guess, those type of calls.”
Winslow, who was the recipient of Thomas’ apparently vicious elbow, didn’t agree with the call.
“He just swung through,” Winslow said, via The Herald. “It wasn’t excessive. He didn’t mean to hurt me. It was a basketball play, heat of the moment. I said things, they said things, but no one’s out there trying to hurt nobody. It’s just part of the game.”
Even Brothers, who ejected Thomas, told the Celtics guard he didn’t agree with the call he was making — he just didn’t have another choice.
“They just go off, I guess, what the office in wherever it’s at (Secaucus, N.J.) says what it is,” Thomas told The Herald. “Tony Brothers didn’t think it was a flagrant-2, but he’s got to go off what they say, so I’m disappointed. I’m happy we won, but I’m disappointed that they kicked me out. There’s no reason for that.”
Thomas did score 23 points before the ejection, and Boston held on for a 105-95 win.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images
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