How Celtics feel about Kemba Walker's ejection, fan throwing can

Nick Friar
January 09, 2020 - 6:45 am

“Free Kemba, man.”

Listen to your team news NOW.

That’s what Marcus Smart had to say before Kemba Walker addressed the media following Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs, in which Boston’s starting point guard was ejected for the first time in his life.

In the third quarter, LaMarcus Aldridge set a hard screen on Walker, who then hit the floor hard. He was upset by the non-call. According to Crew Chief Rodney Mott, Walker “used profanity towards an official,” which led to the first technical foul handed out by Evan Scott. Walker “continued to use profanity,” which led to the second tech and the point guard’s ejection.

“I didn’t get personal,” Walker said. “I was upset with the call, yeah. I would never get too personal. It’s not that serious. Just keep it (to) basketball for the most part. I definitely said a few bad words, but nothing personal towards him as an individual.”

The idea of Walker being ejected is surprising on its own, never mind how quickly Scott threw him out. Yes, he chirps the refs, but so does everyone NBA — especially the stars. And, as Walker pointed out, he’s also won the league’s sportsmanship award twice.

“Maybe I should get a little leeway,” Walker said. “I’ve definitely seen — I watch a lot of basketball. I see other guys do a lot worse. But like I said, the choice was his. He made it. He got me out of there, and what can I do? Really just forget about it at this point.”

Needless to say, his teammates were surprised by what went down.

“Everybody knows Kemba is probably the most patient and nicest guy in the whole league. When he gets mad like this, (there is) probably something right on his side,” Daniel Theis told “The techs came so quick, I didn’t even realize there were two.

“It probably was an offensive foul on the screen, just the way (Aldridge) hit him. It wasn’t dirty. But (Aldridge) hit him (on the) blind side.”

Tacko Fall thought the ejection was suspect, too.

“It’s the heat of the game, you never know what can happen,” Fall said. “I didn’t know what he did to get ejected. I just saw the (play). (Walker) definitely got fouled. And then he said something and got a tech and all of a sudden he got ejected. I was still trying to process what happened, but I didn’t think he deserved to get ejected for it.”

The Celtics were also caught off guard by what happened after Walker’s ejection.

A fan threw a full drink from the stands behind the Spurs bench to the court. How far from behind the bench was unclear, though it did not seem to be close.

The fan was identified and arrested.

“We can’t have that,” Gordon Hayward said. “I’ve never had that happen, I don’t think. But, certainly, no matter what happens on the court, we can’t have anybody throwing stuff from the fans. It’s not what it should be. Definitely don’t appreciate that.”

“I love our fans. Love the passion that they bring. They certainly bring a lot of energy, but we got to try to stay away from that.”

Theis was disappointed, as well. He also expressed concern over the possibility of someone on the floor getting hurt from the can — Hayward pointed out he heard the can land, but he didn’t see it upon initial impact.

The whole incident left Brad Stevens more than frustrated.

“I apologized to the Spurs for what happened out of the stands and that can being thrown,” he said. “I told Pop (Gregg Popovich) after the game I’m really sorry that they had to experience that. I hope that person is not allowed in an NBA arena again.”

As for the game itself, the Celtics lost 129-114. There was a point where they mounted a comeback in the second half, but to no avail. (For a complete recap of the Celtics' loss, click here.)

Theis found a way to sum up Boston’s night:

For more Celtics and NBA coverage, be sure to subscribe to WEEI’s 5 Out podcast. The podcast is available on RADIO.COM, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.