Boston Celtics rookie Marcus Smart earned a flagrant-2 foul and was ejected in the final seconds of the team's 103-98 loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday after elbowing Elfrid Payton in the head on a drive to the basket.
Smart struck Payton while trying to draw contact with Boston down eight with 28.1 seconds to play. He was whistled for an offensive foul and, after video review, the call was upgraded to a flagrant-2, which carries an immediate ejection.
A flagrant-2 foul is defined by the league as "unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent." The league reviews every flagrant foul with the ability to reclassify the infraction, but can also add a fine or suspension.
Smart told reporters in Orlando that he disagreed with the classification of the foul.
"I was just making a basketball play to the rim," Smart said.
If history is any indicator, Smart might only have to worry about a fine. New York's Samuel Dalembert received a flagrant-2 for a seemingly more deliberate elbow to the face of Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas in December. He was fined $15,000.