Mavericks guard Delonte West sounded contrite yet surprised by the $25,000 fine levied against him by the NBA for jabbing his finger in the ear of Utah swingman Gordon Haywood.
”I didn’t think it was going to be that steep,” West said Wednesday night before Dallas played Houston. ”It’s a play that shouldn’t be in the game. . . . It’s not a good example to set for the youth that we are trying to teach to play the right way.”
The NBA issued the fine earlier in the day, calling it a ”physical taunt.”
West had been called for fouling Hayward away from the ball then walked after him to give him what he called a ”wet willy” during the second quarter of Utah’s 123-121 triple-overtime win over Dallas on Monday night.
West received a technical but was not tossed out of the game. Hayward walked away from the confrontation.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle didn’t want to discuss the fine before Wednesday’s game. He said the team accepts it and is moving forward.
The coach, however, did have a conversation about the incident with West, who acknowledged that it wasn’t a smart play.
”I get intense and I get fiery out there, he just wants me to channel my energy the right way,” West said. ”Got to be a smart player all areas of the floor, not just offense and defense. You’ve got to play the cerebral game too, and knowing guys are trying to get underneath my skin and things like that.”