Pandemonium broke out during the Spurs 129-114 victory over the Celtics Wednesday night when Kemba Walker was shockingly ejected for the first time in his career. Walker, trying to move around a screen set by LaMarcus Aldridge, took a brutal hit from the Spurs big man. When no foul was called an incensed Walker yelled his case to the ref. He was quickly given two technical fouls for which crew chief Rodney Mott said after the game was foul language.
After Walker was ejected, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens was given a tech for arguing Walker’s case, a fan threw what appeared to be a beer can in direction of the Celtics bench. The game was further delayed while the resulting spill was cleaned up.
A fan threw a drink on the court after Kemba got ejected 🍺 pic.twitter.com/ACPQPLNVwK
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 9, 2020
According to the Associated Press, the fan that threw the beer has been identified and arrested. Spurs players after the game spoke about the thrown beer with stunned amazement, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
“It almost hit me,” Spurs guard Bryn Forbes said. “It flew right over me and [guard Marco Belinelli] and just blew up on the court. I was shocked.”
“I don’t know why they have beer cans. That’s one of the dumbest things ever.”
Spurs guard Lonnie Walker said, “It was pretty much right in front of Jakob’s shoes. It landed right in front of his shoes and bounced off. It was a beer can or something. That’s just not cool.
“I mean, it happens. Those are fans. You can’t control what they’re going to do. Just thank God nothing happened to one of us or one of the other players.”
Brad Stevens said after the incident he apologized to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Nobody wants this to happen no matter what arena it’s in.
“I’m sure the Celtics have already addressed this as an organization, but if not, I apologize to the Spurs for what happened out of the stands, and that can being thrown,” Stevens said. “I told Pop after the game I’m really sorry that they had to experience that.
It’s pretty despicable behavior by a fan to threaten a player like this by throwing anything. That it was apparently something as dangerous as a beer can is even more alarming — most venues now pour all canned or bottled liquids in a cup for this reason. While the fan has already been arrested we can only hope that the NBA will take further precautions and ban them for life from any of their arenas. No league lets fans as close to the action as the NBA and with that comes dangers the NBA needs to always be aware of. Keeping their players safe should always be top priority, and the league is obviously sensitive to what can happen if a fan successfully lands a beer on a player, given what happened in the Malice at the Palace..