Porzingis was ejected from Monday night’s Game 1 between the Clippers and Mavs after picking up a second technical foul in an altercation with Marcus Morris. After the 118-110 loss, Porzingis explained his side of the technicals.
“I understand we got into it a little bit and I saw him getting into Luka’s face and I didn’t like it,” Porzingis said after the game. “That’s why I reacted. That’s a smart thing to do from their part and I just have to be smarter and control my emotions next time especially on the first one. I understand the second one, but the first one even though I felt like it was a clean block and they probably going to call that tech for throwing hand every time so I just have to be smart and not let my emotions get the better of me.”
The 7-foot-2 Latvian then appeared to take a bit of a jab at the Clippers’ ‘other guys,’ claiming it was their job to get into the opponents’ heads.
“They provoked us,” Porzingis continued. “They provoked us, especially me. I should’ve been smarter. I already had a technical, which I didn’t really have in my mind. I hadn’t been in that situation, really. That was smart of them to kind of grab Luka, and get into his face and get a reaction out of me. They got what they were looking for, basically. I’ve just got to learn from this.
“That’s what they do. Not their main guys, but some of the other guys, that’s their job. That’s part of their game, and we can’t fall into that. We’ve got to be above that and that’s it. These are the mistakes you almost have to go through to gain that experience and not to commit those mistakes later on in your career.”
“I didn’t think it was much of nothing, honestly,” Morris said or the scuffle postgame. “I think Luka thought that I was being, I guess, extra physical or something, but if you look at the film I actually wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t think it was enough to get technical fouls. I wish that Porzingis played because it’s the playoffs, man, nobody should get thrown out in playoffs. I know that really hurt their team. Not my fault, but I didn’t think it was that serious.”
When told about Porzingis’ comments, implying that the Clippers were trying to provoke the Mavericks into some kind of altercation and bad decision, LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was having none of it.
“It’s funny, I was at one of those meetings and I think someone from the league was saying, ‘You coaches, you try to play games with the refs,’ Rivers said. “I’m like, I’ve never met a coach in my life before the game thinking, Okay, this is what I need to do to get under their skin. No, I think we have some guys who are agitators. I think that’s good. But I can guarantee you that wasn’t on our game plan list. That’s just ridiculous. ‘Okay, let’s get him thrown out.’”
Rivers continued to double down on his comments from last night’s game, saying he was in disagreement with the decision to give Marcus Morris and Kristaps Porzingis a technical over the minuscule altercation as well as the reaction technicals earlier in the game.
“I didn’t like it actually. If I have I guess a criticism, I didn’t think [Paul George] should have got a tech and I didn’t think Porzingis should have got the first tech.
“In some games they do the punch, it was a quick frustration thing. I just think we got to — I don’t know how you judge that. If you don’t do one, you do the other. I guarantee you they had to give his because they gave Paul his in the first quarter. I thought those first two techs were connected. I didn’t like either one of them.
“In the officials’ defense, it’s tough because they’re trying to control the game, the emotions of the game. I get it. It’s a hard job.”
The Clippers and Mavericks will play Game 2 of their first round series on Wednesday night at 6PM PST. You can be sure that after just 20 minutes of action in Game 1, Kristaps Porzingis will be looking to make an immediate impact in Game 2.