It is a rare occasion when a team wins an argument with a referee. But that was the case with the Washington Bullets and National Basketball Association official Steve Javie, who has been disciplined by the league for "overreacting" in ejecting center Pervis Ellison in the fourth quarter of the Bullets' game with the Portland Trail Blazers at the Capital Centre Thursday.
Javie also ejected Bullets guard Darrell Walker and head coach Wes Unseld and called four technicals against Washington in less than two minutes. But the NBA only faulted him for tossing Ellison with 5 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the Blazers' 105-96 victory.
In an April 5 letter to Rod Thorn, NBA vice president of operations, Bullets owner Abe Pollin complained about Javie's actions.
Thorn and chief operating officer Russell Granik reviewed tapes of the game and also a report from a league observer who saw the game that turned ugly in the last six minutes. They then disciplined Javie for taking unwarranted action against Ellison.
As the tapes showed, Ellison, after being called for a foul, had tossed the ball left-handed to official Bill Spooner. But Javie ran from midcourt to slap Ellison with a technical.
When Ellison started to protest, he joined Walker in the dressing room. Unseld then raced on to the floor, and after a heated exchange with Javie, he, too, was asked to leave.
"I was outraged by the way the Ellison incident was handled," Pollin said yesterday, "but I am satisfied with the league's disciplinary actions."
While the NBA announces player fines and suspensions, Thorn said it is against league policy to spell out disciplinary action against its officials.
"It's not uncommon for us to discipline our referees," said Thorn, "but we choose not to make it public." The announcement of Javie's reprimand came from the Bullets.
The Bullets' mascot, Hoops, also left the game with the Blazers, but that was as a result of team management trying to cool tempers rather than any action by Javie, who simply asked him to stay away from the officials.