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Cade Cunningham's ejection for pointing is the latest blunder by NBA refs

Cade Cunnigham ejection

Cade Cunnigham ejection

There's no doubt NBA refs have a thankless job. But every now and then, they do something that makes it impossible to take their side. The most recent example is Cade Cunningham's ejection.

Cunningham: “I had my people right behind the bench”

Cade's ejection came in the 3rd quarter of the Pistons 135-108 loss to the Phoenix Suns. After a Top 10-worthy reverse slam, the No.1 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft started celebrating, seemingly pointing at the Suns' Jalen Smith, which automatically merited a technical foul for “physical taunting.” It was the second technical for the rookie, resulting in an ejection, wasting Cade’s valiant effort of 21 points in 24 minutes. 

However, when the 6-6 point guard told his side of the story, it completely gave the situation a different flavor. Cunningham claimed he was only pointing towards his people who sat behind the bench. It just so happened that the Suns player got in the way, which made it look like he was pointing at him.

"I had my people right behind the bench," Cade said after the game. "I went baseline to dunk the ball, and he's right in-between me and my people. I probably should've read that situation better. I don't get into taunting too much, I'm usually chilling after a play."

"The fans do not pay their hard earned money to watch the officials"

Replays are put in every game to check other angles or prove if the refs' call is valid. In this case, the play was reviewed, and the game officials stuck to their judgment. Crew chief Kevin Butler defended the call.

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"I wanted to ask about the second technical on Cade Cunningham at the 4:22 mark of the third quarter and just what the interpretation was on that,"Detroit News' Rod Beard asked."After he dunked the ball, he was assessed a technical foul for a physical taunt for pointing at the defender," Butler said. Beard then doubled down, making sure the refs' interpretation was that Cade was specifically pointing at the player. Butler answered with a simple, "yes."

It was a judgment call which the referees might have interpreted wrong, and based on reactions on social media, that sure was the case.

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The incident happened with the Suns up by 22 points, but there was still a lot to play for in the game. Cunningham's ejection deprived not only the paying fans of the opportunity to see other highlights he could have made but also the Detroit Pistons of a chance to mount a comeback in the 4th quarter.

All in all, this was another ridiculous decision from the refs. Bobby Marks hit it on the head -- the fans do not pay their hard-earned money to watch the officials. But once again, they are the center of attention. And once again, for all the wrong reasons.


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