It could have been incidental contact, but the officials deemed it something else.
What looked to be an innocent play made the Pistons shorthanded for the second half of Saturday’s 113-104 loss to the Boston Celtics. Hamidou Diallo was ejected in the second quarter after making contact with an official.
Diallo was saving a ball from going out of bounds and turned to run up court. Diallo looked to be trying to get his balance and ran into the official, Suyash Mehta, who immediately called a technical foul.
After video review, the officials determined that the contact was intentional, and Diallo was ejected.
“Per rule, any contact with a game official — and in this case, a shove — is deemed a hostile act and an automatic ejection,” said Rodney Mott, the officiating crew chief. “In this case, we used replay to confirm that a hostile act had occurred.”
Pistons coach Dwane Casey said the explanation the officials gave him was that there was some residual issue from before that led to the call.
“The explanation I got was that (Mehta) thought (Diallo) was upset with him from the prior play,” Casey said. “I’m not a mind reader, but that’s what he felt when Hami bumped into him, and I thought it was totally accidental.
“Hami’s flying all over the place and bumps into him, but (Mehta) felt like (Diallo) bumped into him, so that was his explanation.”
Prior to the call, Diallo was getting into a good groove, with six points in 11 minutes. Having one of the best offensive players on the second unit out and having a shorter rotation caught up in the end.
“He brings a lot of energy for us. He just makes a lot of big plays that are loud plays and the whole arena feels them,” guard Cade Cunningham said. “Losing him early in the game to something like that definitely hurt us, but it’s on us to try to keep our head in the right spot and try to go win it for him.
“It was super early and we were able to get back into the game and try to figure things out without him but having him around definitely helps us a lot more.”