San Antonio Spurs forward Zach Collins was ejected from the game following a 143-138 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night after he hit Russell Westbrook hard in the head, causing bleeding and provoking a brief altercation on the lane in AT&T Center.
Collins at the end of the third quarter of the game blocked Westbrook at the ring and hit him hard on the head, which sent Westbrook to the court. Westbrook then immediately jumped up and lunged at Collins. However, before he could do anything, LeBron James grabbed Westbrook and held him down.
Westbrook’s face was bleeding as he made his way back to the Lakers’ bench.
After the review, Collins received a rough 2 foul and was sent off. Westbrook received a technical foul and then left the game after free throws to the locker room.
“I shouldn’t have jumped on the fake pump, but I did,” Collins said via Tom Orsborne of San Antonio Express News. “And then the worst thing you can do is give up the u-1 in that situation, so I was just trying to get down and hit his arm so the ball wouldn’t hit the rim… Unfortunately my elbow just caught on my head and he started bleeding and it looked terrible, but I honestly didn’t try to do anything. I just didn’t want him to shoot.”
Collins finished his evening with 12 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench. Westbrook later returned to the bench from the dressing room and returned to action. The team said the cut on his head didn’t need stitches. He finished the night with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes.
James led the Lakers with 39 points and 11 rebounds in the game-winning game, shooting 7-of-12 from three. The win was the Lakers’ fifth in six games and the second in a row over San Antonio.
“He gets hit in the head and you don’t want to escalate the situation,” Lakers coach Darwin Ham said. via Spectrum SportsNet. “You want to try to calm him down, you have a guy with a bloody face who is understandably upset. Just having Armor shows the fraternity that we need that image, that action, that kind of faith in each other, we need it to represent us as a team and a franchise.”