MILWAUKEE — Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash was ejected for the first time in his coaching career during the third quarter of Wednesday night’s 110-99 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nash seemed frustrated with multiple calls throughout the night, but his frustration boiled over when there was 4:24 left in the third. He said after the game it was because he thought Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had punched Nets point guard Patty Mills in the throat and wasn’t called out for it.
“I just stood up for our boys,” Nash said. “I thought Patty had smacked Giannis in the throat with a forearm right in front of the referee. I didn’t think that was fair. I don’t think I was overly demonstrative. I was upset that I got a technician.”
Nash was booed by Josh Tiven for a technical foul and lost his temper. The normally mild-mannered coach, incredulous that he was being called to a technician, got into a heated disagreement.
Nash said he was not given an explanation from Tiven as to why the initial call was made.
“There was no explanation,” Nash said. “There’s a lot going on out there, so what happened happened. I said my peace on the pitch and that’s really all there is.”
Several players and coaches tried to hold Nash back as he continued to argue and was quickly called to his second technical and ejected.
Nets guard Kyrie Irving was one of several players who tried to calm Nash down and put his hands on his shoulders, but Nash went off the floor while receiving support from players at the end of the bench. Nash’s players seemed to appreciate their coach’s support.
“We watched him play for 20 years. I saw him talking s— to the umpires,” said Nets star Kevin Durant with a lopsided smile. “I was with him on the pitch when he was talking crazy to the referees. In my early years Steve used to talk so crazy to the umpires. So when he didn’t get a tech coach, I’m like, ‘Where’s that s—?’ Because he is resolute. But you have to deal with yourself differently as a coach, but sometimes you just want to go out and fight for your boys and I think he did that tonight.
Both Durant and swingman Ben Simmons also received technical fouls early in the game, with the Nets appearing frustrated by what they thought was an inconsistent whistle.
While Nash had support from his team, Durant said it made no difference to him if Nash defended the group in this way – he said he always believed Nash had his back.
“It could make a difference for some players,” Durant said. “I do not care. I mean I know my coach is there for me. I know he supports us and wants the best for us. So he gets a tech [doesn’t] really enforce that in my head anymore. I like that he was so excited for the game and the game, but he’s always there. I don’t think that matters to us, not to me [know] over the rest of my teammates, but for me, nope.”
https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34886138/brooklyn-nets-steve-nash-ejected-first-coach Brooklyn Nets’ Steve Nash ejected for first time as coach