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Yahoo: Amir Johnson gets ejected, throws mouthpiece at referee in Raptors loss to Bla
With just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter of Monday night's late game, a West Coast road affair against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Toronto Raptors were in trouble. (As they tend to be these days.) Injuries to top scorers Kyle Lowry (who hurt his right shoulder in a first-half fall) and Andrea Bargnani (who fell awkwardly while attempting a first-quarter dunk and injured his elbow) left Toronto with just nine healthy bodies on the bench. Shorthanded, shooting 34 percent from the floor and already in dire straits, the Raps stared up at a 10-point deficit, in desperate need of a spark. Of course, because this is life for a 4-17 team spinning its wheels and circling the drain, Raptors forward Amir Johnson responded by getting himself ejected, leaving the Raps with just eight available players to climb out of the 10-point hole, and then decided to ratchet things up in a way that's going to earn him a call from the commissioner's office. Take a look: The trouble starts with Portland's J.J. Hickson at the line after being fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound. After Hickson makes his first, referee David Jones grabs the ball to send it back over to Hickson for his second attempt. Johnson — by no means a hothead by reputation, which makes this all even weirder — comes off his spot on the block to grab it, too, as players will sometimes do for myriad reasons (to get an extra touch of the ball, an extra dribble in, etc.). Jones and Johnson proceed to have a little tug of war for the ball, which leds them to have words, which leads to Jones tossing Toronto's 25-year-old big man. Which — and here's where it gets interesting — leads Johnson to freak out, make his way toward Jones to lob some more choice words the ref's way and then, while being held back by his teammates, go on to lob his mouthpiece at Jones, hitting the referee square in the back. It was the third shot on which Johnson had connected in seven tries.