NBA

Thomas Bryant gets technical foul for violating NBA’s new ‘Theo Pinson’ bench celebration rule

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Thomas Bryant was called for a rather unusual technical foul in Wednesday’s preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. The call came in the third quarter, when teammate Damian Jones threw down a vicious dunk. Bryant, then on the bench, stood up to celebrate the play. And then he stayed up for a bit too long. As such, he was called for a technical foul.

In the past, a call like this would have been viewed as somewhat extreme, but this offseason the NBA created a new point of emphasis in regards to players who are not in the game celebrating. There had already been a rule in place in regard to players standing on the court, which is not allowed, or standing on the sideline and out of bounds, which is permitted only as a spontaneous reaction to a live play. However, the league decided to crack down on it this season, with warnings and delay of game calls being issued before, as Bryant found, technical fouls.

The rule has informally been referred to as the “Theo Pinson” rule because of the behavior the Dallas Mavericks reserve exhibited on the bench last season. Aside from celebrating big plays constantly, he frequently violated the league’s policy against standing on the sideline. On one notable play in the Western Conference Finals, Pinson stood in the corner with a raised hand wearing a shirt that was the same color as Golden State’s white and blue uniform, which prompted Stephen Curry to pass the ball out of bounds thinking there was a teammate in place to catch it.

The Mavericks were fined for Pinson’s behavior, but now the league is making sure that other players won’t be able to repeat it. As we saw last season with the league’s point of emphasis on offensive players initiating contact to draw fouls, the league will call these technicals frequently in the early portion of the season to make sure the rule sticks. The days of lengthy, disruptive celebrations from teammates seems to be nearing its end.



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