The Bucks’ Larry Sanders has come into his own as a post player to be reckoned with this season (9.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.9 blocks in just 27.3 minutes per game), but there have been a couple bumps in the road – and referees always seem to be a part of them. Remember his instant-classic ejection a few weeks ago, brought on because he shot a few sarcastic thumbs-up gestures at referees (i.e. the friendliest ejection of all time)?
Well, last night Sanders had another ref incident, this one involving more physical pain – but also entirely accidental. It came on the game’s opening tip, when Sanders won the jump ball. Referee Bill Kennedy, who, having tossed the ball, was standing right by Sanders, found himself in the big man’s way. And that led to a forearm to the face that sent Kennedy right to the ground:
Again, this was totally accidental, Kennedy laughed it off, and Sanders, who went to check on Kennedy right away, seemed to feel bad about the whole thing. The most amazing thing to us, though, is that it doesn’t happen more often (Royce Young at CBS thought the same thing). Ben Chew at That NBA Lottery Pick noted he’d never seen an incident quite like this one, and while we’re sure something like this has happened before, we don’t recall seeing it.
As for Sanders: he was undeterred by the bizarre incident, going on to dominate the Bobcats with 24 points and 13 rebounds in a 131-102 victory. Still just 24, he appears well on the way to becoming one of the NBA’s top centers – that earns a thumbs up from us.