(CBS/AP) Delonte West has been fined $25,000 for sticking his finger in Gordon Hayward's ear during Monday's triple-overtime Dallas-Utah game, the league announced Wednesday. While many observers recognized the childish move as a "wet willie," the league is calling it a "physical taunt."
Hayward said he initially felt like ripping West's finger off and fighting him after he jabbed it into Hayward's right ear.
"I wanted to fight right there, but you can't do that," Hayward said before Tuesday's practice. "It wouldn't have been the smart idea. I'd risk getting a technical foul, getting suspended for the season, whatever. There's more important things than fighting someone out on the court. The more important thing was getting the win and we were able to do that."
Hayward acknowledged Tuesday that many of his teammates might have reacted differently.
But Hayward, who raised both arms and walked away, said he "got the last laugh" as the Jazz prevailed 123-121 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with four games remaining.
The incident, which earned West a technical foul after his personal foul but no ejection, lit up twitter after Monday night's 3 hour-and-17 minute thriller.
West insisted afterward that Hayward had lint in his hair and he wanted to give him a "wet willy".
He also acknowledged getting caught up in the emotion.
"We are two warriors, out here battling," West said, unsure if he would be facing a fine. "I forgot the NBA is a gentleman's game."West is known for his unconventional behavior. During the NBA lockout, he considered working at Home Depot and selling knives. Finally, he landed a gig at a furniture store - thanks, in part, to his .
After the game, Jazz big man Al Jefferson was shocked by the poke seen round the NBA world.
"Gordon's a better man than me," Jefferson said, referring to Hayward's restraint. "But that just shows you the type of person he is. He got the last laugh on the court. Me and Delonte West are good friends. If it had been anybody else that would have done that to me, I probably wouldn't have took it as well as Gordon did."