Bulls center Joakim Noah was ejected from Chicago's 99-70 road loss to Sacramento after he disputed a foul call and used profane language while pointing at each of the three officials before leaving the court.
The heated exchange took place with Sacramento leading 51-40 with just under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. Kings guard Marcus Thornton launched a three-pointer from the left corner, and Noah was called for a foul as he battled with DeMarcus Cousins for rebounding position. Replays indicated that Noah hadn't done anything to deserve the foul, and he immediately reacted with confusion and frustration, turning both of his palms up and rushing towards the Bulls' bench. Noah's teammates were similarly confused by the call.
Once Noah confirmed that the foul was indeed assessed to him, he shouted angrily in the direction of the officials, even as Kirk Hinrich attempted to defuse the situation. Noah then spun around, pointed his finger directly at referee Eli Roe and appeared to shout profanity in the official's face. He then proceeded to point and scream at referees David Guthrie and Rodney Mott before Carlos Boozer and a team official could intervene and direct him off the court towards the locker room.
Noah, who was selected as a 2014 All-Star reserve last week, departed at the 7:39 mark after receiving two technical fouls, leaving with four points (on 1-for-6 shooting), four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.
Following the game, Noah apologized for his behavior.
“I’m really disappointed,” Noah said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I shouldn’t have acted that way. I apologize. I’m sorry to all three referees out there. They’re out there trying to do their jobs and I should never have said the things that I said. I hope they accept my apology and I hope I can move on from this. ... I was frustrated with the call, but it doesn’t give me the right to do what I did. I deserve to get ejected, and it was just a bad decision on my part.’’
The NBA league office will almost certainly fine Noah for his antics. For comparison's sake, Warriors forward Draymond Green was fined $15,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection from a Christmas Day game against the Clippers.
Sacramento went on to claim an easy victory in Noah's absence, holding Chicago to just 13 fourth-quarter points and 28.2 percent shooting for the game.
Cousins finished with a game-high 25 points (on 8-for-15 shooting), 16 rebounds and four assists. Isaiah Thomas added 19 points (on 7-for-9 shooting), three rebounds and three assists for the Kings.
Jimmy Butler led Chicago with a team-high 17 points (on 4-for-11 shooting), five rebounds and three steals.
Sacramento improved to 16-32 with the win. Chicago dropped to 23-24 with the loss. Video via YouTube user beyondthebuzzercom