Maxi Kleber Says NBA Stare-Down Was A Foul

Jake Cooper | 25 May 2021

NBA stare down causes troubleMaxi Kleber isn’t mincing words about the fact he’s wholly unimpressed with Kawhi Leonard’s throw-down dunk over him during the first game of the playoff series between the Mavericks and the LA Clippers. And even though he called it an amazing monster dunk after the fact, saying that these things happen and you simply get up and keep playing, he couldn’t resist the urge to add that to his mind, the stare-down that ensued should have been “rewarded” with a foul.

Such a call would have involved a string of technical considerations, though, made even more precarious by the fact neither Cousins nor George had been standing directly over Kleber at the time of the incident.

His Options Were Few

It’s not as if Kleber had no option, either. He could simply have moved his body out of harm’s way. But since this was the playoffs, after all, he explained later on that being dunked beat giving away easy baskets to all and sundry.

Kawhi’s jump apparently caught Kleber completely off guard. But instead of fowling his fellow-player, he decided to contest the shot instead. Even so, playoffs or no playoffs, contesting shots comes with an arm’s length of consequences, with stare-downs often part and parcel of the brunt to be weathered after the time. That, and the fact that refs aren’t all that fond of calling foul on what would by many be considered a triviality during the playoffs.

Backside View Of The Action

When all is said and considered, landing on one’s backside while being approached by the likes of George, Morris, and Cousins yelling and gesturing wildly, should probably be considered intimidating behaviour.

If anything, what Saturday’s monstrous dunk did achieve was to bring the Clippers two points closer to what could very well have been a victory. The Mavs, however, pulled ahead of the breeze late during the fourth quarter before making their way to a convincing 113-103 win.

The crowd of around 7,000 fans obviously went wild after the dunk, leading Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to call a time-out in an attempt to stop any movement created by the play from gaining out-of-control momentum.

Carlisle said after the game that the results following the point of Kawhi’s big dunk could really have gone either way, and that the only thing to be done in such an instance was to keep on executing – not to mention keep one’s cool and composure.