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NBA Officials Eject Tristan Thompson After He Slaps Jae Crowder's Butt at Road Game in Memphis

© AP Photo / Karen Pulfer FochtCleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson - Sputnik International
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The Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 113-109, marking their seventh-straight victory in the regular NBA season. The game was highlighted by an altercation between former teammates: the Cavs' Tristan Thompson and the Grizzlies’ Jae Crowder.

With just over two minutes left in the third quarter, Thompson took to the foul line for free throws. Crowder was called to the bench for a substitution and, at that moment, both forwards were in close proximity to each other on the court of the FedExForum arena. At that point, the Cavs forward lightly smacked Crowder's backside.

​The move triggered the officiating crew to eject Thompson for the remainder of the game. The Grizzlies’ forward, however, did not take Thompson's gesture seriously, as he just briefly stopped near Thompson with a surprised look on his face.

NBA officials after the game explained that the ejection was called for a "physical taunt, slap to the backside" and had nothing to do with double-technical violations both players were called for earlier during the matchup.

Washington Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives to the basket as Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) defends during the first quarter of the game - Sputnik International
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Thompson told reporters after the game that his stroke was a friendly gesture between two former teammates and a natural reaction for competitive athletes.

“So, we have a history, and it was just a little competitive spirit [...] They might have taken it the wrong way because they may have forgotten we were teammates", Thompson said, adding that he would "definitely [be] calling (the Players Association) to appeal that", according to Fox News.

Crowder and Thompson both played for Lebron James' squad in the Cavs during the 2017-2018 NBA season.

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