Russell Westbrook, P.J. Washington ejected in chippy Mavs win

DALLAS — A few heated confrontations during the fourth quarter of the Dallas Mavericks’ 101-90 Game 3 victory over the LA Clippers on Friday night resulted in two ejections and a rise in PJ Washington’s local popularity.

Washington, the power forward acquired by the Mavericks at the trade deadline, was ejected along with Clippers guard Russell Westbrook with 6:10 remaining.

This confrontation began when Westbrook fouled Mavs superstar Luka Doncic by grabbing his right arm from behind and yanking on it, pulling Doncic backwards. When Doncic approached Westbrook to object, Westbrook pushed him with his left arm. Washington and Westbrook then exchanged shoves before other players, coaches, officials and security forces prevented the skirmish from escalating.

“You always have to protect 77 at all costs,” Washington told ESPN. “So, I mean, obviously it was a hard foul, and then he pushed it afterward, so I was right there and I just had to go in.”

Westbrook, who finished 1-of-0 on 7 shooting in 19 minutes, was called for two technical fouls and ejected from a playoff game for the first time in his career. He left the American Airlines Center without speaking to the media.

“You have to keep your cool,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “It gets hectic in the playoffs and everyone wants to play well and do well, but you have to keep your cool no matter how the calls go. So we have to be better than that down the stretch when that’s what it’s about.”

Washington, who had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in the win, was also ejected after being whistled for his second technical foul. His first came after a confrontation with Clippers guard Terance Mann with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter.

In this case, Washington struck an instantly iconic pose amid players pushing and shoving, crossing his arms and staring at the Clippers bench.

“(Mann) was mad that I was looking at their bench, so I decided to look at it again,” Washington told ESPN. “I just came in and tried to set the tone.”

As Washington posed in an exaggerated manner, Doncic stood next to him and smiled with joy. Washington remained stone-faced.

“I wanted my films to be perfect for postgame,” Washington said with a smile, referring to the moment as a photo opportunity.

Doncic, who had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists despite describing his right knee as “very stiff” after injuring it late in the first quarter, expressed gratitude for the willingness of Washington to serve as a henchman.

“Amazing,” Doncic said. “The things he does, he’s a team player. He helps all of us. I’m just really happy that we have him on our team.”

Westbrook was also called a flagrant foul 1 for hitting Dallas wing Josh Green in the head during a quick dunk attempt with 8:37 left in the second quarter. He had Doncic examined after the whistle in the final minute of the first half, but officials determined the incident merited no punishment.

“I’m used to it,” Doncic said of being subjected to an extra physical level. “I just try to stay calm and keep playing basketball.”

After the Mavs complained about their lack of physicality in their Game 1 loss, they held the Clippers to 93 and 90 points in the final two games to take a 2-1 series lead. . Dallas coach Jason Kidd calls the fourth-quarter friction typical of a physical series.

“We’re all competing for every inch to try to win,” Kidd said. “This series is going to be more and more mental as it goes on, just because of the physicality. It’s very physical, but the mental aspect of this series, we have to be sharp and we have to understand what’s happening “I thought the guys did a great job of looking out for each other.”

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

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