Officials ejected Luka Doncic from Sunday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
No, the Dallas Mavericks star didn't pick up another technical for complaining to the refs. Sunday's infraction was demonstrably worse. Just ask Collin Sexton.
Officials whistled Doncic for a flagrant 2 foul in the third quarter after he got tangled up with Sexton while tussling for rebounding position near the basket. The sideline replay had Mavericks fans confused.
That looked like a personal foul at worst. Definitely not a flagrant 1, much less a flagrant 2 that comes with an automatic ejection. But the baseline replay caught the incriminating act.
Yeah, you can't do that. Prior to Sexton's fall to the floor, Doncic took a direct swipe at his groin. Officials missed it live, but caught the less-than sportsmanlike conduct while reviewing whether the foul took place before the shot clock expired.
Once they saw the swipe, the flagrant call was routine. Even if Doncic's bewildered reaction suggested otherwise:
Doncic's absence didn't hurt the Mavericks on Sunday. They led 68-57 when he was ejected and cruised to a 124-97 victory. After the game, Doncic denied that the swipe was intentional.
Luka: 'Obviously wasn't on purpose'
"That kind of stuff happens a lot of the games you know," Doncic said on a video conference with reporters. "I dunno. That's my explanation.
"It obviously wasn't on purpose. Just two guys fighting for a rebound, I guess."
Doncic continues to flirt with suspension
Doncic is already on the brink of suspension after picking up his league-leading 15th technical foul last Sunday. A 16th technical comes with an automatic one-game ban. Sunday's flagrant doesn't add to that tally. But it's the kind of infraction the league could consider for a separate suspension.
With the Mavericks in a heated battle to avoid the postseason play-in games, they need their superstar on the court — not in the locker room for punching below the belt.
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