NBA fines Wizards guard Thomas $25K for bumping referee


New York (AFP)

Washington Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Saturday for inappropriate contact with a referee in a 122-103 home loss to Portland on Friday.

Thomas received a technical foul and was ejected for the incident, which took place 88 seconds into the first quarter.

The 30-year-old American was being double covered by Portland's Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard along the sideline. He battled for control of the ball with Anthony and moved forward, sticking his arm into the chest of referee Marat Kogut, who was standing out of bounds.

The play was reviewed by officials before the ejection was upheld.

Although the contact could have been Thomas trying to steady himself against Kogut rather than push the referee, it made no difference in enforcing rules designed to protect officials.

"He made physical contact with a referee," referee crew chief Mark Ayotte said after the game. "It was definitely just a push during the dead ball contact with the referee."

Kogut, 40, moved from Ukraine to the United States with his family seven days after he was born in Kiev.

Thomas, 30, is averaging 13.0 points and 4.4 assists a game for the Wizards, who at 10-24 are 5 1/2 games behind Orlando for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.