Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls accidentally punched referee Danny Crawford in the groin during the second quarter of a 100-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. Boozer hit Crawford with a celebratory fist-pump with three minutes left in the first half before the two laughed it off.
Boozer had just scored on Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, and Crawford made the call to send Boozer to the line for the three-point play before taking the hit to the groin. Crawford took a pretty solid punch, but walked it off towards to scorers table to make the call and had a few laughs with Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau before resuming play.
The Bulls ended the Miami Heat’s historic 27-game win streak this past Wednesday before the loss to the Mavericks. Chicago was without center Joakim Noah for the fourth straight game due to a right foot injury, while Marco Belinelli missed his third straight with an abdominal strain.
Dirk Nowitzki led all scorers with 35 points and added seven rebounds in the big win over the Bulls. Vince Carter and Brandon Wright had 17 points apiece off the bench as the Mavericks trailed by as much as 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Jimmy Butler missed two key free throws with 15.9 seconds left in the game and the Bulls up a point. Nowitzki hit a three-pointer off a kick-out pass by Vince Carter on the next possession to seal the win for the Mavericks.
Despite hitting referee Danny Crawford in the groin with one heck of fist-pump, Boozer finished the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Here’s the video of Boozer’s blow to Crawford in the second half if you missed it:
It isn’t rare to see a ref get tangled up with players in transition from time to time or get hit in the face by the ball, but taking a shot to the groin is a rarity. The last notable ref-shot came in a similar situation in the 2010 NBA Finals, when Paul Pierce hit referee Eddie Rush in the face during a celebration.
Rush took a pretty good shot from Pierce, and it came in a much more important game, but Boozer’s hit on Crawford had a lot more behind it. Nevertheless, the Bulls couldn’t hold on late in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks and have fallen to sixth in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls face the Detroit Pistons Sunday night but don’t expect Carlos Boozer to get another cheap shot on a referee any time soon. Boozer will certainly enjoy watching re-runs of the low-blow in the future, and who could blame him, as he joins a rare group of players to get a free shot on an NBA referee.
[Image via Keith Allison]