DETROIT – Taj Gibson was surprised to see Andre Drummond coming after him.
After the two went for a rebound during the fourth quarter of Detroit’s 131-114 win over the Timberwolves, the Pistons center got up and went after Gibson. His teammates had to hold him back while Gibson’s did the same – though the two exchanged some adult language before officials reviewed the play. While Gibson was trying to box out Drummond, Gibson’s elbow appeared to make contact with Drummond’s chin, leading to Drummond falling over.
Officials ruled it a Flagrant-Two on Gibson, which means an automatic ejection because officials thought Gibson made unnecessary and excessive contact. That differs from a Flagrant-One, which is only for unnecessary contact.
After the game, Gibson said he wasn’t trying to harm Drummond.
“I was just trying to box him out,” Gibson said. “I didn’t even see him actually standing a certain way. I just went in there and just instinct. Because he’s a physically strong guy so I just try to do my best to box him out and I didn’t know. He just tipped over and fell over. I wasn’t purposefully trying to hurt him.”
The league could review the foul and downgrade it. Interim coach Ryan Saunders picked up a technical arguing the call but didn’t want to make any further comments after the game.
“I think people saw my reaction out there,” Saunders said.
This was Gibson’s second ejection of the season. He was previously ejected during a 106-102 loss to Utah on Jan. 25th after he lost his temper and made an obscene gesture toward official James Williams. That ejection rallied the Wolves, Wednesday’s had the opposite effect. The Wolves were down 11 when Gibson left and Detroit went on a 14-3 run to put the game away.
“I was trying to make a play and box him out,” Gibson said. “It wasn’t nothing malicious. I’m not crazy, head hunting.”