Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was ejected after what appeared to be an intentional shot to the groin area of Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr. in the second half of their game Monday night.
The moment of madness happened after the pair collided as Denver was setting up on offense, forcing Murray to the ground.
Murray got up and reached between Hardaway’s legs with his right arm, prompting Hardaway to double over.
The official closest to the contact blew the whistle to stop play with 4:51 left in the third quarter and conferred with the other referees.
The initial call was a foul on Murray, and it was upgraded to a flagrant-two foul on a video review.
Murray had 16 points when he was ejected.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone asked crew chief Zach Zarba for an explanation, and said Zarba told him the replay was “fairly obvious”.
“There was a lot of physicality between those two,” Malone said.
“They came out very aggressive in the third quarter, which we knew they would. Hopefully it’s nothing more than Jamal getting ejected tonight and we can just use it as a learning experience.”
The Nuggets led 80-73 when the game was stopped, and Hardaway scored the next seven points in just 23 seconds to get the Mavericks even before they went on to take their first lead since early in the first quarter. Denver won 117-113.
“I guess he was just frustrated that they didn’t call a foul,” Hardaway said.
“I was just trying to do the best I can to deny the ball. The rest of it speaks for itself.
“It happens in a game. But it doesn’t even matter at this point. We lost.”