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NBA says “Facu” to Nuggets, suspends Campazzo for Game One

Campazzo was suspended for shoving the Lakers’ Wayne Ellington in the Nuggets’ season finale. This truly bizarre Lakers season has granted us one more inexplicable moment.

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets
Dangerous, 5’10” Facundo Campazzo has been suspended for the first game of the playoffs for his violent play.
Photo by Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers played their last game on Sunday, and they were eliminated from the playoffs a week earlier. Still, this drunken carnival that was the 2021-22 Lakers season didn’t stop careening just because the games were done. In what felt like a bizarre post-credits scene in a Marvel movie (working titles: Doctor Vogel and the Locker Room of Madness or Westbrook-Man: No Way That Jumper Goes In), forgotten side character Wayne Ellington declared war on 5’10” Denver Nuggets’ point guard Facundo “Facu” Campazzo.

Ellington was mad about a play that happened in the Lakers’ overtime win over the Nuggets on Sunday, a game highlighted by 41 points from Malik Monk, a triple-double from Austin Reaves, and zero minutes from four of Denver’s normal starters. In the second quarter, Campazzo ran from out of bounds and shoved Ellington hard in the back, drawing a flagrant two foul and an ejection.

Perhaps fearing that Ellington had bought tickets to Game One, the NBA suspended Campazzo from the first game of their series against the Golden State Warriors, Saturday night in San Francisco. He won’t be forcibly shoving any Warriors until Monday night at the earliest! Also Wayne Ellington lost some cash.

It’s not the first time a Nugget has shoved an opponent in the back like that. Nikola Jokic drilled Markieff Morris of the Miami Heat back in November after Morris hit him with a flagrant foul, and Morris ended up missing the next four months with back and neck injuries. It also sparked a feud between Jokic’s enormous brothers and Markieff’s similarly-large twin brother, Marcus. It’s

Campazzo averaged 18.2 minutes per game with the Nuggets this year, starting four games and averaging 5.1 points and 3.4 assists per game. He signed with Denver before last season after six years at Real Madrid, and became the shortest NBA player ever without college basketball experience. He started deep on the Nuggets bench, a reserve with an excellent steal rate, but with the Nuggets’ backcourt decimated by injuries in May, Campazzo played 27 minutes per game during Denver’s playoff run, scoring 9.3 points and doling out 4.3 assists, and shot 40% from three-point range. But this season, he has fallen out of the Denver rotation in favor of Bryn Forbes, Austin Rivers, rookie Bones Hyland, and even Davon Reed. Before Sunday, Campazzo had only played in garbage time for a solid month.

What does this mean for the Warriors? Not much, except that their security forces won’t have to worry about Wayne Ellington, hell-bent on revenge, disguising himself as one of the Golden State Breakers and blasting away at Campazzo with a t-shirt gun. Or Campazzo’s brother flying in from Argentina to avenge him, and then there’s a blood feud, and Manu Ginobili will have to broker a peace. But now the Warriors will only have to prepare for Forbes and Hyland, who will invariably combine for ten threes while Bob Fitzgerald complains about them exceeding their normal shooting percentages.

For his part, Ellington seems satisfied with the decision.

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