Frustrating losses often lead to chippy play, as frustration at the result of the game is taken out on opponents. It’s also never a surprise when a bad loss leads to screaming a a ref – they’re always easy targets for verbal abuse, but especially when you have extra steam to blow off. Something you wouldn’t expect, though: chippy play with a ref. But the Raptors’ Amir Johnson turned the trick last night against the Blazers. How’d it happen? Well, Johnson just wanted that ball:
So what the hell happened there, exactly? Well…
Johnson said he has a habit of rubbing the ball before handing it to the ref during free throws.
And old habits die really, really hard. (Note: SportsCenter earlier today showed video of Johnson doing just this multiple times earlier in the game.)
As for why he completely lost it after getting thrown out, Johnson said that was because he wasn’t given a reason for the ejection. To his credit, he apologized for the incident after the game, though obviously a fine – and possibly suspension, thanks to the mouthpiece throw – are coming his way no matter what he says or does. Last night was about as dispiriting as losses get – the Blazers missed all 20 threes they took and still beat the Raptors BY 18 – but a mouthpiece chuck will always be a bridge too far.