Isaiah Thomas was ejected in the fourth quarter of his Celtics debut during Boston’s 118-111 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
The 26-year-old point guard was handed back-to-back technical fouls after a foul call, leading to his ejection with 5:03 remaining in regulation, and the Celtics trailing by just four points.
A questionable offensive foul call led to Thomas’ first technical as he slammed the basketball in frustration after being whistled for a pushoff. The 5-foot-9 speedster then earned an ejection after tossing the ball towards official Tony Brothers.
The sequence marred an otherwise positive debut for the young guard in his Celtics debut. Thomas came off the bench for Brad Stevens and scored 21 points in just 25 minutes of action before hitting the showers early. The point guard also filled up all areas of the box score with his stat line, posting five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He shot efficiently from the field (6-of-13), the 3-point line (3-of-7) and tied a team-high with seven free throw attempts.
Despite the strong play, Brad Stevens was understandably disappointed with the ejection, as seen by his immediate reaction.
“He’s gotta be there at the end. I think that’s No. 1,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “He does a lot of good things for our team, he’s a good player. And he knows that. He said something to the team in the locker room; he seems like an accountable guy. But he’s a good player and we’re going to need him. We need everybody on board, especially when we’re shorthanded. You gotta know the line and not cross it.”
The Celtics rallied from a 10-point deficit with 3:31 left in regulation to force overtime after Thomas’ ejection, but managed to score just five points in the overtime loss.
Thomas declined to speak with the media after the game. He’ll face off against his former team, the Phoenix Suns, Monday night at US Airways Center.