Zach Collins was ejected from his 143-138 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night after hitting Russell Westbrook hard on the head, drawing blood and giving a brief altercation on the street of the AT&T center.
Collins, at the end of the third quarter of the game, blocked Westbrook on the edge and hit him hard on the head, sending Westbrook to court. Westbrook then immediately jumped in and accused Collins. But before he could do much, LeBron James grabbed Westbrook and held him back.
Westbrook had blood drawn across his face as he returned to the Lakers’ bench.
After a criticism, Collins was hit with a blatant foul 2 and was kicked out. Westbrook received a technical foul and then left the game after taking free plays to the locker room.
“I shouldn’t have jumped into a fake bomb, but I did,” Collins said through Tom Orsbourne, the San Antonio Express News newspaper. – And the worst you can do is give up one and one in this situation, so I was just trying to get down and hit his arm so the ball wouldn’t hit the edge…Unfortunately, my elbow grabbed his head and started bleeding, and it looked terrible, but honestly I wasn’t trying to do anything. I didn’t want him shot.”
The cooler heads quickly won, and the officials checked the game. Collins was evaluated by a false Flagrant 2, which led to his ejection, while Westbrook received a technical false for his response. Westbrook stayed in the game and made one of two free throws before heading to the locker room for further examination. The lacquering didn’t take hard work, and he re-entered the game early in the fourth quarter, ending with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“In the first phase, the reaction is obviously to jump up and see something going on,” Westbrook said of the altercation. “But now, when I swallow blood everywhere, I calm down and take care of it and move on.”
After a tough start to the season, Westbrook took over as the Lakers’ sixth man, averaging 16.1 points, 8.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds to 37 percent 3-point shots in 13 games as a reserve, entering Saturday. The Lakers struggled to start the season, but now have won five of their last six games to advance to 7-11.