Few players and officials are as intertwined as Chris Paul and Scott Foster, and another chapter was added to their lengthy history on Wednesday night during the Phoenix Suns' 123-115 win over the Golden State Warriors. With just seconds remaining in the first half, Foster sent Paul to the showers with two quick technical fouls just before halftime.
Foster's explanation via the pool report after the game was short and to the point.
Question: Why was Chris Paul assessed the first technical foul?
Foster: For unsportsmanlike conduct.
Question: How did Chris Paul escalate the situation to be given a second technical foul, leading to his ejection from the game?
Foster: He continued to complain and received a second unsportsmanlike technical foul.
The incident started when Paul was called for a foul on former teammate Kevin Durant at the top of the key. As Durant made his way to the line, Paul made a beeline to Foster and started sharing his thoughts. The two then engaged in a lengthy discussion that at first seemed good-natured, but quickly turned and became animated.
Just before Durant shot his second free throw, Foster finally had enough and gave Paul a technical foul. That only enraged Paul, who continued barking at Foster and was then quickly handed a second technical and the automatic ejection. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr got involved at that point, and earned a technical of his own.
Here's a look at the full sequence:
An alternate angle appeared to show Paul calling Foster a "b----."
"It's personal, Paul said postgame. "We had a situation some years ago, and it's personal. The league knows, everybody knows, and it's been a meeting and all that. It's a situation with my son and so, yeah. I'm OK with a ref talking, saying whatever, just don't use a tech to get your point across. I gotta do a better job making sure I stay on the floor for my teammates. But, yeah, that's that.
"Yeah. They know what it is, he know what it is too. I had a meeting with him, my dad, Doc Rivers, Bob Delaney and all that. [When I was with] the Clippers. It was a whole thing, man. It's been a thing for a while. I ain't saying nothing to get fined. It is what it is at this point."
This was the seventh career ejection for Paul, though, perhaps surprisingly, the first issued by Foster. It was, however, clearly not the first time the two have gotten into it, as Paul alluded to in his comments.
"He just never fails," Paul said after a regular season game in 2018, during which he received a technical from Foster. "Some of them, you can [communicate] with. You've just gotta figure out who you can and you can't. I got a tech tonight. I'm over there with [referee Courtney Kirkland] saying, 'That's Scott, that's Scott,' and I got a tech. There's history there. He's the man. That's who they pay to see."
After Paul and the Phoenix Suns lost Game 3 of the 2021 Finals with Foster on the call, he lamented "If I was a betting man -- 11 games in a row." That was in reference to his losing streak in playoff games officiated by Foster, Los Angeles Clippers last season.before the Suns won Game 2 of their first-round series against the
All-time, Paul is 2-17 in playoff games officiated by Foster.