Sanders ejected for third time in 10 days
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
The Milwaukee Bucks center was ejected Friday after complaining with referees too strenuously after a minor foul call during a 102-78 loss at the Indiana Pacers. Sanders, one of the best defenders in the NBA, has been ejected three times in 10 days, five times on the season.
This is a problem. The Bucks were down 53-47 in the middle of the third quarter when Sanders, who had 12 rebounds in 19 minutes, drew the foul, the first technical and the second technical all in one sequence. The Pacers immediately went on a 14-1 run to put the game out of reach.
The Pacers outrebounded the Bucks 33-23 in the second half after being outrebounded 29-23 in the first. Milwaukee wasn’t helped when Mike Dunleavy was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul in the fourth quarter.
It could have been worse, though, had Sanders snapped after being embarrassed by a poster-worthy Paul George dunk in the first quarter.
The Bucks play at a demanding tempo, with guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis pushing out fast on defense. That’s only possible because Sanders and backup Samuel Dalembert provide reliable rim coverage. Milwaukee has used this formula to boost itself into a comfortable lead for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.
That said, Sanders has to control himself if they want to get any further, this season or in the future. After the aforementioned consecutive ejections against the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat, Sanders was ripped by coach Jim Boylan.
“You’re a professional athlete, and you have to behave like a professional,” Boylan told reporters (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). “We’ll talk with Larry. Like I’ve said to Larry before, I don’t mind him playing with emotion as long as it doesn’t hurt the team.
“Getting ejected from two games in a row, it’s not good for our team and it’s not good for Larry.”