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Multiple players ejected from Houston-Chicago game after flagrant foul turns into chippy on-court scuffle

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An on-court scuffle during the Chicago Bulls-Houston Rockets game on Thursday night involving multiple players resulted in star players DeMar DeRozan and Dillon Brooks both being ejected. Houston ultimately won the game, 127-117.

The clash took place in the third quarter, with 6:02 remaining and the Rockets leading 84-75. As Houston’s Jalen Green was carrying the ball up the court, Chicago’s DeRozan came off a screen and hip-checked him, sending Green to the court in evident agony.

Houston’s Brooks took exception to what the refs later determined to be a flagrant foul and immediately approached DeRozan. As DeRozan turned to face Brooks, DeRozan elbowed him in the chin, exacerbating the feud, and other teammates almost immediately joined in. Team staff and security also attempted to intervene.

Upon review, the initial foul by DeRozan was ruled a flagrant foul 2 and he was ejected. Brooks was given a technical foul for instigating the conflict and was subsequently ejected.

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DeRozan dribbling, Brooks guarding

DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against Dillon Brooks #9 of the Houston Rockets in the second half at Toyota Center on March 21, 2024 in Houston, Texas.   (Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Both team coaches addressed the conflict after the game.

“I think there was some contact on some drives, some fouls, previous calls that were not called,” Bulls interim coach Billy Donovan said. “Obviously, DeMar jumped off of that screen and fouled Green.”

“I don’t think DeMar’s intention was to get a flagrant 2, certainly it was fouling and of course flagrant 1 and they’re shooting a free throw,” Donovan said. “I don’t think that was ever his intention was to do that. I actually was a little surprised that it got elevated to a flagrant 2, personally.”

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A scuffle of players from both teams

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan, center left, and Houston Rockets forward Dillon Brooks, center right, are held back from each other during a scuffle that ensued after DeRozan’s flagrant foul against Rockets’ Jale Green during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Houston. Both DeRozan and Brooks were charged with technical fouls and ejected from the game.  (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

DeRozan being escorted away from the court

DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls is ejected in the second half against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on March 21, 2024 in Houston, Texas.   (Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Rockets coach Ime Udoka said he “didn’t love” that Brooks got ejected “being that he got elbowed.”

“He walked over and didn’t say anything crazy,” Udoka continued. “But they say the rules are the guy that kind of instigates it to get it to that step after DeRozan did what he did, he got suspended because of that.”

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Udoka also applauded Brooks’ performance leading up to the ejection: “Had a great game, great impact, wish he didn’t get ejected but like I said I don’t mind him standing up for his guys.”

VanVleet standing over Green

Fred VanVleet #5 of the Houston Rockets assists Jalen Green #4 in the second half ac at Toyota Center on March 21, 2024 in Houston, Texas.   (Tim Warner/Getty Images)

When Brooks was ejected, he had a team-leading 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Houston. DeRozan exited the court with 16 points on just 4-of-15 shooting and going 8-for-9 from the line.

Crew Chief Curtis Blair clarified the review and the penalties after the game.

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“DeRozan was assessed a flagrant foul penalty 2 because the contact was excessive and unnecessary,” Blair said. “Because Brooks escalated the situation, therefore he was given a technical foul and ejected.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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