The Denver Nuggets were frustrated with officiating during their game against the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, following a loss in Cleveland the previous night. Coach Michael Malone, already vocal about the officiating due to the team’s low free throw rate, carried his frustrations into the game and was ejected before the first quarter ended. Before leaving the court, Nikola Jokic also expressed his frustration and got ejected with a very light second technical.
The ejections of both Malone and Jokic were questionable as they were expressing frustration that is not uncommon among players and coaches in the NBA. This has brought attention to the quick-trigger and thin-skinned nature of NBA refereeing this season. Some have suggested that a balance needs to be struck between maintaining control of the game and allowing for passionate play and expression of emotion from players.
While there is a need to maintain a level of authority in games, others argue that allowing players to show their emotions leads to more passionate and compelling play. It’s seen as a trade-off for better overall play and a better product for audiences. The ejections of important players can be seen as detrimental to the entertainment value of the game.