Russell Westbrook drills referee in the head and gets hit with a technical

Russell Westbrook apologizes to official Tre Maddox after hitting him with the ball. (Sam Sharpe/USA Today Sports)

You don’t average 10.5 assists per game, second in the NBA, without being accurate in delivering the basketball to others. Unfortunately for Russell Westbrook, his accuracy earned him a technical foul Wednesday, when his toss to a referee hit the unsuspecting official in the head.

Russell’s own pained reaction and subsequent apology indicated that he did not mean to peg the ref, Tre Maddox, with the ball as the Thunder and the host Hornets were heading into a first-quarter timeout. Nevertheless, it seemed odd for him to throw the ball toward an official who clearly wasn’t engaged with the guard at the time.

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose thought Westbrook’s act was intentional. “Did he mean to throw it at the official? Yes,” Rose said during the network’s studio show (via Business Insider). “Did he do it with accuracy? Absolutely, yes. The intent wasn’t to hit him to…