A Celtics official confirmed to WCVB that a Boston fan was ejected from the arena and arrested for tossing the beer can. After the game, a 129-114 San Antonio win, Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said he hoped “that person’s not allowed in an NBA arena again.”
“I’m sure the Celtics have already addressed this as an organization, but if not I apologize to the Spurs for what happened out of the stands and that can being thrown,” Stevens said (via masslive.com). “I told Pop [Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich] after the game, I’m really sorry that they had to experience that.”
“It almost hit me,” San Antonio’s Bryn Forbes said (via expressnews.com). “It flew right over me and just blew up on the court. I was shocked.”
“We can’t have that,” Boston’s Gordon Hayward said. “I’ve never had that happen, I don’t think. But certainly, no matter what happens on the court, we can’t have anybody throwing stuff from the fans.”
Walker was ejected after he took issue with a no-call following a play on which he slammed into a screen set by San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and tumbled to the floor. It was the first time in Walker’s nine-year NBA career that he was tossed from a game.
“I thought I was being nice,” the three-time all-star said (via masslive.com), while acknowledging that he used some objectionable language. “I thought the ref missed the call, I voiced my opinion, and the rest is history.”
Officiating crew chief Rodney Mott said after the game that Walker was given consecutive technical fouls, resulting in an automatic ejection, for directing profanities toward a referee.
“I was upset with the call, yeah. I would never get too personal. It’s not that serious,” Walker said. “I just keep it basketball for the most part. I definitely said a few bad words but nothing personal toward him as an individual.”
As for the no-call, Mott said: “In real time, it’s a difficult play. But we deemed the screen to be legal, as LaMarcus was set.”
“It’s the first time I’ve been ejected in my whole life. I am a two-time sportsmanship award winner as well. So maybe I should get a little leeway,” Walker said. “I’ve seen other guys doing a lot worse. But like I said, the choice was his. He made it. He got me out of there, and what can I do? Really just forget about it at this point.”
The sequence might have marked a turning point in the game, because the Celtics had whittled a 20-point deficit early in the third quarter to seven when Walker was ejected. Aldridge was then sent to the line for three technical foul shots, and after he made the first two, teammate Derrick White rebounded his miss of the third and drew a foul.
White made both of his free throws, pushing the Spurs’ lead back to 11, and the Celtics never got within single digits again.
“I wish I didn’t get ejected, because it definitely swung the game right back into their favor,” Walker said. “We were making a run, on our way back, and after that incident it didn’t go in the right direction.”
After the beer hit the court, members of the Spurs’ bench turned and looked into the stands in an attempt to identify the culprit.
“I love our fans, love the passion that they bring. They certainly bring a lot of energy, but we’ve got to try to stay away from that,” Hayward said.