The Knicks entered Tuesday's game against the Lakers shorthanded to begin with, as Marcus Morris was ruled out before the game with a sore neck.
The team's frontcourt depth became even slimmer in the second quarter of the game, as Bobby Portis was ejected for committing a Flagrant 2 foul on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Caldwell-Pope went up for a dunk when Portis, who was trailing behind him, swung his forearm, hitting Caldwell-Pope's head.
The Lakers immediately took exception to the foul, as players like LeBron James and Rajon Rondo had some words for the Knicks big man.
"It was," James said after the game when asked if he thought it was a dirty play. "There was no play at the ball. I saw the windup happen before the impact. I saw the way he was chasing KCP down and did the windup. I saw the play happening before it actually happened. So I just voiced my words about what happened. And then the refs came between us. But I definitely know it wasn't a basketball play."
The NBA deems any 'unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent' as a Flagrant 2 foul.
After the play was reviewed by the officials, it was indeed ruled a Flagrant 2 foul, and Portis was disqualified from the game.
"It wasn't intentional at all," Portis said after the game. "Went for the ball. Apologies to Caldwell-Pope. Happy to see him back on the court doing his thing. My intent is never to hurt anyone or anything. Just tried to make a play on the ball, missed the ball, and hit him in the head.
"Like I said, that's not my intent to hurt anybody, but I do apologize and I am sincere for it."
"Well I think it was not intentional. I think he really was going for the ball, so it was unfortunate," added interim head coach Mike Miller. "But it made us kind of play some different lineups and do some different things, and when guys are out we have opportunities for other guys. That's the way we have to approach it and have confidence that the guys are going to go out there and add something and do a good job."