Jaylen Brown and Lauri Markkanen each had an incredible posterizing dunk in their games on Friday night. Each player looked at their respective victims and gave a slight flex in victory over their athletic accomplishment. Shortly after, each player was assessed a technical foul for their “unsportsmanlike” transgressions.
First came Markkanen’s dunk over Magic center Nikola Vučević. The half-second glance was apparently too much for the baseline official, who T’d up the second-year forward.
Then came Brown’s dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo. Given that Brown is listed as four inches shorter than the Greek Freak, and is nowhere close to his overall size, the Celtic celebrated a bit more ferociously with two separate flexing gestures. Once again, the baseline official deemed it too much for the kids watching at home, and T’d Brown up.
Both of these calls, and the rules that allow them to happen, are trash because they ruin one of the most exciting things that can happen on a basketball court. But would you believe that these weren’t even the worst technicals called in each game? Just a few minutes prior to Markannen’s highlight, rookie Wendell Carter Jr. was given a tech for something that can only generously be called a mild disagreement.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum also got hit with a soft tech in the second quarter of his game after clapping once for a call he thought the refs missed on him.
It feels like we run into an incident or two every season where we wonder if this is the worst that NBA refs have ever been. While the answer isn’t a decisive “yes,” this debate is going to keep popping up year after year until officials are held more accountable for what they choose to call. It would probably also help to just get rid of taunting penalties altogether.