If anyone thought the officiating in the Washington Bullets' April 4 game with Portland got out of hand, well, so did the NBA.
The NBA's operations department has taken disciplinary action against official Steve Javie for the technical foul call and subsequent ejection of Bullets center Pervis Ellison in the fourth quarter of the game at the Capital Centre.
Bullets owner Abe Pollin, who complained to the league about Javie's officiating the day after the game, learned yesterday from NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Russ Granik and Vice President of Operations Rod Thorn that Javie would be disciplined by the league for his actions.
"I was outraged by the way the Ellison incident was handled," said Pollin. "I am satisfied with the league's response and actions."
Yesterday, Thorn would not detail the disciplinary action.
"We fine or discipline referees in a lot of different ways all the time," Thorn said from his New York City office. "It's not unusual. The unusual thing is that the team sent out a FAX to tell everyone about it. We don't usually announce them and we don't tell what the penalty is because we don't want any feedback from other refs, who might be disgruntled because penalties differ."
Ellison was given a technical by Javie after tossing the ball toward official Bill Spooner following an Ellison foul and subsequent basket by Portland's Kevin Duckworth. Javie, coming from halfcourt, immediately ejected Ellison from the game with 5:37 left in the fourth quarter. Coach Wes Unseld then went on to the other end of the court, which is an automatic unsportsmanlike act subject to ejection. Javie slapped Unseld with two technicals and ejected him.
Before Ellison and Unseld were ejected, guard Darrell Walker was charged with a technical and ejected by Javie. That came with 6:51 left, after Walker argued with Javie for not calling a foul against Portland's Cliff Robinson.
"I think if Steve had it to do over, he wouldn't eject Ellison," said Thorn. "He thought Ellison threw the ball at [Spooner] and he over-reacted. Not that I'm defending him, but on the court things happen a lot faster than they do on the sidelines. Walker had been kicked out only a minute before, and justifiably so. I think it was mostly the dynamics of the situation."
It was dynamic, all right. Javie even told the Bullets' team mascot, Hoops, to leave the floor, though it was not an official ejection.
Thorn said Javie will be working Bullets games in the future.
"We wouldn't be able to make a schedule if we allowed teams to red-line officials, like they used to do in college ball," Thorn said. "It's getting near the end of the season and I don't know whether Javie is assigned to any more Bullets games, but if he is, he'll work them."