Portland Trail Blazers veteran Kent Bazemore was ejected Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors after racking up two technical fouls in quick succession near the end of the third quarter. Bazemore’s ejection served as something to rally around, as the Blazers went on to gut out a win over the Raptors. After the game, Bazemore explained his ejection (via Jamie Hudson of NBC Sports Northwest):
“I thought there was a lot of contact on the drive. We had been getting in the paint all night, and we felt like we were getting hit pretty much on every play early in the game. Dame gets hit upside the head – nothing. I drive a couple of times, a lot of contact – nothing. I was just frustrated and I took it upon myself and I got ejected for it.”
Several members of the team highlighted Bazemore’s ejection as a wakeup call. Damian Lillard said it lit a fire under the Blazers:
“He was really mad because we fighting for it, and we trying to win the game. And, I think that just kind of lit a fire up under us to continue to press forward.”
Carmelo Anthony, who hit the game-winner in Toronto, also commended Bazemore for making a sacrifice for the team:
“We rally around Kent. We rally around just that atmosphere, and situations like that. Sometimes it takes sacrifices… to spark something and today Kent was that. He was really into the game, he was locked in, and I think when you get locked in, a lot of emotions goes into it. It was unfortunate that he got ejected, but we rallied and we won the game for him.”
You can read more postgame comments on the significance of Bazemore’s ejection here.