SACRAMENTO — All-Star center Joakim Noah was ejected with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter of the Bulls’ 99-70 defeat Monday night at the hands of the Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
Noah, who had already been whistled for a technical foul earlier in the period for protesting a non-call in the physical contest, was hit with another technical when he argued a call against him for fouling Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Noah proceeded to direct profanity at each individual referee before being escorted off the court by team security.
After the game, a contrite Noah apologized for his actions.
“I’m really disappointed. I shouldn’t have acted that way. I apologize, I’m sorry to all three referees out there. They’re out there trying to do their jobs and I should never have said the things that I said. I hope they accept my apology and I hope I can move on from this,” Noah explained. “I think I was just frustrated with the game. You gotta give Sacramento a lot of credit. They played really well, they deserve to win and we’ve got to step it up, but I think I was just frustrated with the way the game was going. I was frustrated with the call, but it doesn’t give me the right to do what I did. I deserve to get ejected, and it was just a bad decision on my part.
Noah is likely to be fined for his actions, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be suspended for the Bulls’ next game, Tuesday evening in Phoenix, where they will face the Suns.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just want to apologize,” Noah said.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau was seen making a beeline for the officials’ locker room after addressing the team, but before talking to the assembled media. Thibodeau claimed he wasn’t given an explanation for Noah’s ejection.
“For what?” the coach responded, when asked if he was concerned about Noah being suspended. “We played poorly. That’s it. I’m not going to put it on the officials. We played poorly.”
Teammate Carlos Boozer shared his thoughts on the officiating.
“I’m not a referee. I know they’ve got a tough job. But it really seemed one-sided to me. For Joakim to lose his mind like that — you know how he is. He plays hard. Sometimes he gets fouls, most times he doesn’t because everybody respects how hard he plays,” Boozer said. “It was just really lop-sided tonight. It seemed like they shot a lot of free throws. In the first half, we shot a lot of free throws, but the second half, we didn’t shoot too many.”