SALT LAKE CITY -- Delonte West joked that he was only trying to get some lint out of Gordon Hayward's hair and then West said he was actually going in to deliver a wet willy. When a reporter asked if it was actually a "West willy," the Mavericks guard couldn't back from cracking a smile.
West said there's no hard feelings toward the Utah Jazz forward after West lost his cool late in the second quarter. West aggressively and unnecessarily flung his arm at Hayward well away from the ball to pick up his third foul with 3:40 to go in the first half. After the whistle, West followed Hayward and suddenly poked his index finger in the vicinity of Hayward's ear.
None of the three referees initially saw the strange jab, but the crowd sure did and it went berserk. The refs then conferred and went to the video replay, after which they called a technical foul on West. He said the unorthodox poke straight from the script of The Three Stooges -- which West might or might not have taken in during this road trip -- was nothing more than a heat-of-the-battle moment.
"We're two warriors, man, we're out there battling on the battlefield," West said. "I forgot, the NBA is a gentleman's game so we've got to fight and scrap and do it nicely. Everything is left on the court, though. That's what it is."
West said he didn't recall ever giving a finger poke to another player at any level of competitive basketball and he said didn't know what triggered it toward Hayward. He said the two did not exchange words and it was not a case of building frustration boiling over.
"I wasn't frustrated. Like I said, you get caught up in the game, in the motion, it's physical and you just get caught in the moment some times," West said. "But like I say, you leave things where they're at and you get on to the next play."
Unfortunately for West, he was immediately subbed out of the game because of foul trouble and wouldn't get back in until the start of the third quarter. That was the bigger issue for the slow-starting Mavs, who had just closed an 11-point gap to one. West didn't have an answer for why he committed the totally unnecessary initial foul, let alone the "West Willie." He said he wasn't disappointed for getting himself taken out of the game with a silly foul.
"No, I'm not disappointed in anything. The game is the game," West said. "The players play and the refs ref. I'm n0t worried about whatever call is made. Everyone is doing heir best. Like I said, you just get caught up in the moment of the game."
West said he's not concerned about the league reviewing the play and possibly levying a fine.
"You never know," West said.