Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Doncic was assessed his first technical foul at the 10:23 mark of the second quarter and was sent to the locker room with his second technical with 31.8 seconds in the final quarter.
After the game, the two-time All-Star expressed confusion about the circumstances surrounding his early exit:
Brad Townsend @townbrad
Doncic said he said nothing to the referee. He said he got the second technical, he guesses, because he tossed the basketball away. Doncic says he believes both techs should be rescinded. Says he got the first one by saying “Hell, no.”
Crew chief Rodney Mott provided an explanation to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. He said the first was due to a “disrespectful” and “unsportsmanlike” reaction Doncic gave to an offensive foul he committed. And the second was for throwing the ball across the court out of frustration.
Doncic’s ejection didn’t have much impact on the outcome. The concern, however, stems from the fact that he’s one more technical foul away—15 on the season—from triggering an automatic one-game suspension.
“It’s something we’ve been making him aware of,” head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “Look, I set a poor example tonight by getting two myself. So that’s on me. I apologized to the team after the game for it, too. It’s not the right example.”
Doncic expressed confidence in his belief he won’t be whistled for another tech during the regular season.
Losing the 6’7″ playmaker for even one game could prove very troublesome for the Mavs, who are seventh in the Western Conference and thus in position to fall into the play-in tournament. The sixth-place Portland Trail Blazers own the same record (36-28), while the Los Angeles Lakers are only 0.5 games up in fifth.
One game might be the difference between finishing in sixth and having to qualify for the playoffs through the play-in.
The league has already rescinded one technical foul from Doncic, so perhaps officials will provide the 22-year-old Slovenian with a little more breathing room once again.