Quite a bit happened in a relatively short amount of time during the third quarter fracas in Sunday’s game between the Lakers and Pistons. After LeBron James’ elbow caught Isaiah Stewart in the face during a free-throw line box out, the latter attempted to rush the Lakers multiple times, each attempt more unsuccessful than the last.
Once all the dust had settled, James and Stewart were ejected and Russell Westbrook was assessed a technical foul... but he didn’t know about it until after the game.
“Who had a tech? I had a tech? Oh wow,” Westbrook said when asked if the referees told him why he was T’d up. “Why’d I get a tech? I didn’t know I had a tech. Wow. That’s interesting. Well, that’s just being Russell, I guess. When you’re Russell Westbrook, they just try to do anything, apparently.
“I don’t know what I did, but whatever. They had to put it on somebody. I’m an easy person to throw s--- on. Why not me?”
The news came as a genuine shock to Westbrook, so much so that it’s all he could think about when asked if he had spoken with the ejected James after the game.
“No I haven’t,” Westbrook said. “I’m still trying to figure out how I got a tech.”
"That's just being Russell, I guess...I don't know what I did but whatever." ♂️ Russ didn't know he had a tech. pic.twitter.com/7OPw6LleiI— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 22, 2021
After the game, the referee Scott Foster did provide reasoning for Westbrook’s technical to pool reporter James Edwards III of The Athletic, stating that on replay review Westbrook was “deemed an escalator and not a peacemaker,” during the altercation.
Considering the way Westbrook plays, Sunday night included, it’s incredible he didn’t get ejected while playing blissfully unaware that he had a technical. For example, midway through the fourth quarter after Westbrook’s emphatic dunk over Hamidou Diallo, his ensuing celebration was very much skirting the line of a technical for taunting, which would have seen him ejected from the game.
Perhaps the referee, aware Westbrook was on a technical, provided him as much leeway as possible to avoid tossing a second Laker on the night. Whatever the reason, the Lakers were fortunate Westbrook stayed in the game as he played a huge role in the team’s comeback win in that fourth quarter. And, ultimately, we were all fortunate that Westbrook was oblivious to his technical, giving us one of the funniest moments of the season afterward.