Shaun Livingston is normally very mild mannered. The backup point guard for the Golden State Warriors has a game routine that normally consists of high-fiving his teammates, smiling a lot, and knocking down a bunch of 12-foot jumpers.
Sunday was a little bit different. Early on in the Warriors’ blowout victory over the Miami Heat, Livingston thought he was fouled, but didn’t get the call. After letting referee Courtney Kirkland know that there should have been a foul, Livingston and the ref made contact, and the point guard was immediately ejected.
Props to the AP photographer who snapped this epic shot of Shaun Livingston and referee Courtney Kirkland: pic.twitter.com/RgwzAziqpe— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) December 4, 2017
While Livingston’s outburst was a little surprising, the ejection was not; contact with a referee is an automatic ejection. As Kirkland explained after the game, “Shaun Livingston was ejected for making contact with me. It was only one technical and he was ejected immediately. That’s basically it.”
While that is true, many felt that Kirkland initiated the contact. Livingston certainly confronted Kirkland, but it wasn’t entirely clear who created the physical contact.
Partially due to this, Livingston’s teammates were quick to defend him when the game was over. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both praised Livingston’s character, with Durant addressing the ref issue by saying, “It did look like, watching it, that Courtney stepped into his face.”
Draymond Green, rarely shy with his words, said simply, “There’s something else to it”, and left it at that. David West, who was on the court when the incident occurred, was upset at himself for not breaking things up before the ejection, saying, “I was slipping a little bit. . . If that was Draymond, I would have been there immediately.”
As for Livingston, he made a pretty funny statement through his Twitter account. A picture is worth a thousand words, I suppose.
Normally contact with a referee results in a suspension as well as an ejection, so the Warriors are awaiting word from the league office. After reviewing the incident, it’s possible that the NBA will deem the contact incidental or initiated by Kirkland, in which case Livingston would likely not be punished further.
In any event, it seems likely that he’ll be sitting out Monday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, for one reason or another.
Shaun Livingston (rest) now listed as questionable. Might be the first time I've seen someone listed as questionable for that reason.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) December 4, 2017
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