The NBA announced Friday that Tristan Thompson has been fined $25,000 for cramming a basketball in the face of Draymond Green during the dismal final moments of Game 1. Thompson was issued a Flagrant 2 and ejected by referee Tony Brothers—who, along with his fellow Game 1 referees, will never again in his life receive a Christmas card from anyone in the Cleveland area—for a late foul on Shaun Livingston, and then almost immediately got into it with Green:
In the moment it looked like Thompson was more or less parachuting out of the series out of pure frustration, and the ejection seemed to signal that he’d at least be allowed to miss Game 2. But the NBA announced that “upon review” Thompson’s Flagrant 2 had been downgraded to a Flagrant 1, and while the fine will hurt his bank account in whatever small way a person’s bank account can be said to be “hurt” when he’s set to make $36 million over the next two years, that he has not been suspended is an enormous break for the Cavs.
After the game Thompson talked about his contest of Livingston’s jumper as an example of a player policing the NBA’s unwritten rules, which honestly kind of makes me wish he had been suspended, for being a dingus:
“I mean, it’s like the unspoken rule in the NBA: If you’re up 10 or 11 with about 20 seconds left, you don’t take that shot. I make the contest, and next thing I know, I was being kicked out for a good contest that we learn in training camp. I don’t know why I got thrown out.”
What an ugly, dumb, weird sequence that was. LeBron and Steph Curry were already chirping at each other over LeBron skying for a meaningless block of a meaningless Curry layup, and the broadcast angle didn’t show anything in Thompson’s contest of Livingston’s jumper to explain Brothers’s delayed whistle, and certainly not his demonstrative ejection of Thompson. The fight between Green and Thompson happened soon enough thereafter to overshadow Thompson’s ejection, such that until this morning I still wasn’t totally sure whether Thompson was ejected for the fight or for the closeout.
At any rate, whatever Brothers’s reason for ejecting Thompson, it turns out it was a hasty and incorrect call, one the NBA overturned after the fact. The teams will meet Sunday evening, at near full strength, to play out the next stage of what I am convinced will be a grim march to another Warriors title.