Sean Highkin: Reporter: "Monty, you said after the game that you didn't want to complain about the free throw disparity and then you did in the next sentence. Why is that?" Monty: "Is that kind of a jab? Someone asked me the question."
Mark Medina: Giannis on Monty Williams pointing out he had more free throws than the entire Suns in Game 3: "I don't follow quotes after the games from coaches. But I think I take a pretty good beating out there. I have a scratch here and a scratch there. They're making my pretty face ugly."
Dave McMenamin: Suns coach Monty Williams: “I’m not going to get into publicly complaining about fouls … but we had 16 free throws tonight. One guy [on the Bucks] had 17”
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams said it's hard to tell Deandre Ayton what to do defensively to avoid fouls when guys are running into Ayton. Said he isn't sure at times what a legal defensive position is. Noted that would help them adjust to how the game is being called.
Mark Medina: Suns coach Monty Williams: "We have to define what is a legal guarding position. It's hard to tell a guy what to do when somebody is running into you."
Sam Amick: The Bucks were frustrated by the whistle in the opener, when the Suns shots 26 free throws to Milwaukee's 16 and Khris Middleton didn't get there once. They’re the NBA’s best team at defending without fouling, so this is a crucial factor. So I ASKED about it (not baited, Bud:) pic.twitter.com/m6awfbWpzn
After the Suns had 26 free throws in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer admitted the disparity at the line in the opening game -- a 118-105 Phoenix win -- was "frustrating" for Milwaukee. "You trying to bait me?" Budenholzer said with a smile when asked about the Suns getting 10 more free throw attempts than his team in Game 1. "No, I mean, it's a huge part of the game. They had 25 points from the free throw line. We're a team that prides ourselves in defending and being able to be good defensively without fouling.
"I can't remember the last time a team got 25 free throws in a game against the Bucks. And then conversely, the way Giannis [Antetokounmpo] attacks, the way Khris [Middleton] attacks, as many opportunities as Khris has with the ball ... it's frustrating, but it's part of the sport. It's part of the game. "We've got to be better defensively. We've got to keep them off the free throw line and we got to be more aggressive attacking and getting to the free throw line and getting to good offense."
Sarah K. Spencer: Full answer from Nate McMillan when I asked him about Giannis exceeding the free-throw time limit in Game 1: "It’s a rule that we want them to call. So the NBA announced that that should have been called and we hope that if that happens again, that it is called."
So, why does this matter now? Because sources say the Atlanta Hawks are not happy that the league is continuing to look the other way on the matter in the Eastern Conference Finals. In the Hawks’ Game 1 116-113 win over the Bucks on Wednesday, Antetokounmpo — by the Hawks’ internal count — ranged between 11.5 seconds and 13.3 seconds on his eight attempts but wasn’t whistled once.
Chris Vivlamore: Embiid: “There is a lot of stuff that went wrong whether they can foul me all they want, whether it’s the whole officiating tonight. You got guys fouling, putting their hands up. Me going for a dunk and they don’t call anything. ...
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid ripping into the officials right now after crediting Atlanta and noting they didn't do enough on their end: "They can fine me all they want...they didn't call anything the last three games."
Tom Moore: #Sixers coach Doc Rivers on Embiid saying he's not getting the calls Young did. 'I don't want to get into this, but I think he's right. ... There was one layup he made where a guy cut into his body & he fell to the floor. It seems like they can take liberties with big guys.'
After the Philadelphia 76ers' 104-99 Game 6 win Friday to tie up their second round series with the Atlanta Hawks 3-3, Joel Embiid was so fed up with how he viewed the officiating for him compared to the Hawks' superstar leader, he didn't even want to say Trae Young's name. "I just felt like it wasn't called both ways, especially because of the minimal contact that they get on the point guard and when it comes to us, we don't get the same thing," Embiid said after Philadelphia came back from down 12 in the first quarter to win. "So, I just want it called both ways. If you're going to call something like nothing on their point guard, it should be the same way and call the same thing [for] me when I get -- if I get -- touched."
"I got a tech for it and I didn't think it was an offensive foul," Embiid said after finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds. "I was just trying to stay calm and have my hands up. And someone was pushing me from the back and I don't understand why I got a tech. "But I guess it is what it is. I was hacked all night and I don't think I was on the free throw line until I got to the fourth quarter and all that stuff. So it was questionable but we got the win. That's all that matters."
Clutch Points: Trae Young brings back the "open your eyes, ref" move, immediately gets T'd up pic.twitter.com/Kk198uUgI6
The NBA's Competition Committee met Monday to further explore rule changes to restrict the unnatural motions surrounding jump shots that players are using to draw fouls, sources told ESPN. The league wants to limit the ability of players -- including crafty stars like James Harden, Luka Doncic and Trae Young -- to lean backward and sideways, for example -- to initiate contact and get to the free throw line.
The NBA has shared a video compilation of player examples with the 30 teams that outlines a number of motions deemed unnatural that were used to draw fouls. The NBA and the Competition Committee will drill down on specific plays with the league's GMs next week to target examples that'll be recommended to owners to vote to eliminate next season, sources said.
There's growing belief that many of these maneuvers are contributing to a game that's slanting too much of an advantage toward the offense. While the concentration of these issues is often focused on star players getting much more usage and exposure with the ball, the league sees this as a universal problem throughout lineups and rosters -- not only an issue for star players.
The NBA and Competition Committee -- comprising a select group of owners, general managers, coaches, players and referees -- largely believes there's a framework of rules that allows offensive players too much free time to initiate contact in what are deemed unnatural and awkward ways.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The plan's to bring recommendations to the Board of Governors for a vote this summer and implement rule changes for 2021-2022, per sources. Next step will be to talk with league’s GM’s about the specific unnatural motions that’ll be formally recommended to owners for elimination.
Jeff Zillgitt: Steve Nash on P.J. Tucker's defense: "He’s playing extremely physical and made it difficult. That’s his role on their team. I thought it was borderline non-basketball physical at times, but that’s the playoffs. You have to adapt and adjust."
Kyle Neubeck: Rivers hinting at some issues with the officials discussing Simmons taking the Young assignment: "He picked up two fouls for playing defense, and that was frustrating to see." Rivers was also shocked their challenge in the third quarter was not successful
Harrison Wind: Only one missed call shows up on the L2M Report from Game 5 last night: Carmelo Anthony fouled Nikola Jokic on this play in OT. Austin Rivers' three-shot foul on Damian Lillard (on the floor) at the end of regulation, which was reviewed, was a "correct call." pic.twitter.com/g7JUErFbzt
Mike Vorkunov: Julius Randle says his flagrant was response to Gallinari elbowing Bullock earlier. "Gallinari had a dirty play...I can’t let that happen. I wasn’t trying to hurt him but in this situation...you take a hard foul or whatever, just to let them know we’re not accepting their s---."
It was enough to make an old guy feel nostalgic about the 1980s. During a timeout with three minutes left, Bullock clearly had had it so he charged the Hawks’ bench from the other end of the court, presumably to get at Gallinari, and Bullock had to be restrained by teammates, drawing a technical foul. Gallinari pretended to be oblivious to it all. “I honestly didn’t know that he was running toward me,” he said. “I was just going back to the bench to get my water. I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening.”
Gerald Bourguet: Monty Williams was asked about what Chris Paul said re: Scott Foster. "You know I'm not gonna touch that."
Kellan Olson: Chris Paul: "If I was a betting man, 11 games in a row." That's now 11 straight playoff games he's lost with Scott Foster refereeing. "11 in a row is tough" as he leaves the Zoom.
Sean Highkin: Damian Lillard: "I felt like everything we did was a foul. Maybe some of them were fouls, but every damn thing we did, the whistle was being blown. ... It was a lot of things we could have done differently. We can't make no excuses and blame it on that."
Harrison Wind: Nikola Jokic postgame: "I think (the officials) have the toughest job. They make a good call, a bad call, somebody’s going to yell at them. I don't know why anyone wants to become a ref to be honest."
Ben Anderson: Rudy Gobert on the officials: "It was hard for me to figure out what kind of game they were calling."
Eric Nehm: Today, I asked Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer if the league has given him any guidance on how they plan to call or not call ten-second violations on Giannis Antetokounmpo going forward. "No. I have had no guidance, or no communication with me regarding this." - Budenholzer
RJ Marquez: NBA's Last Two Minute Report notes two incorrect non-calls during Spurs-Grizzlies game: Missed Rudy Gay foul on Valanciunas with 1:27 left in 4Q and score 96-90. Missed Dillon Brooks foul on Jakob after DeRozan miss with 25 secs remaining and score 98-93. #GoSpursGo #NBA
Damian Lillard: A shooting foul gets challenged... then overturned and instead of a jump ball (like every other time this happens ) you give the offensive team the ball back 🤔 Dylan Mickanen: This is what Dame is referring to btw. The call was reversed via a challenge but the NBA ruled Davis had possession so it was Lakers ball rather than a jump ball. LeBron hit a 3-pointer eight seconds later.
Perturbed over what they consider an egregious missed call against center Jarrett Allen late in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 120-105 loss to the Washington Wizards, the Cleveland Cavaliers submitted video and reached out to the league office Saturday morning, expressing their feelings and asking for coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s technical foul to be rescinded, sources tell cleveland.com.
Jason Quick: Norman Powell to @The Athletic on whether he fouled Devin Booker in closing seconds Fri at Phoenix, which led to game-winning FTs: "I hit him a little bit, but you know, I don't think it was enough for the ref ... the ref couldn't see that. He more called Devin Booker's yell."
Kellan Olson: L2M highlights from last night: -- Nurkic didn't foul Saric on the first set of FTs with 1:04 left -- Bridges traveled on his drive off the inbound he got FTs for with 34 secs left -- Powell fouled Booker before he got the ball with 4 secs left -- CJ went backcourt at the end
This is old hat by now for the presumptive MVP. According to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Reports, Jokic has been on the wrong end of a bad call a league-leading 14 times this season. Twice as many as the second-most player.
That said, Jokic has been getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop for a lot longer than just this season. According to @atlhawksfanatic database of Last Two Minute Reports, Jokic has been on the wrong end of more bad calls than anyone else since 2015, which is as far back as the data goes. The chart below shows the players who have been disadvantaged the most from bad calls since the NBA started publicizing the Last Two Minute Reports.
Eric Walden: Jordan Clarkson, on if he got fouled on the layup attempt with 7 seconds to go: "Not necessarily. … I thought the shot before that should have been reviewed."
Chris Hine: Ant refuted my question earlier when I said the Wolves were getting a little emotional in the 3rd Q. @JaceFrederick followed up with "Who was getting emotional then, Ant?" Ant: "The zebras."
Will Guillory: David Griffin says part of the reason Zion Williamson is injured is bc of the way he's been officiated by the NBA officials this season. Says the way he's been officiated encouraged teams to play more physically against him in the paint.
Scott Kushner: Griff says there is more violence encouraged against Zion than any player since Shaq. Blames the additional contact on the injury
Marc Stein: Technical update: Technical fouls in play-in games, I'm told, will be a completely separate entity. In other words: A play-in game tech does NOT count toward the 16 that force a one-game suspension in the regular season OR the seven in the playoffs that net a one-game suspension
NBA on ESPN: Ja Morant was given a tech and ejected from the game vs. the Knicks. Ja Morant: Send threats then want to give techs lol 😂😅🤡
Doncic's second ejection occurred during a timeout with 31.8 seconds remaining after Kings guard Delon Wright's layup stretched Sacramento's lead to 13 points. Doncic tossed the ball toward the opposite basket, a violation of the rules, although players often take an extra shot after the whistle without incident. "If you get a tech for that, that's ..." Doncic said, pausing and shaking his head. "I don't know."
Brad Townsend: Doncic said he said nothing to the referee. He said he got the second technical, he guesses, because he tossed the basketball away. Doncic says he believes both techs should be rescinded. Says he got the first one by saying "Hell, no."
Neil Dalal: NBA's Last Two Minute Report says the crew of Kevin Scott, Nick Buchert, and Jonathan Sterling called the final two minutes of Wizards-Mavs correctly. Bradley Beal may have his disputes about that, but certainly for the earlier 46 minutes.
Williamson said there's "not much I can do" about not getting calls and that he has to learn from it and finish the shot next time. "I gotta earn my respect," said Williamson, who had 21 points and shot 8-of-17 from the field, only the seventh time this season he has been below .500. "I'm only in Year 2. Gotta get a couple more years under my belt and hopefully things change with that."
Jim Eichenhofer: Stan Van Gundy had an interesting response when he was asked by media if refs are less likely to make a decisive whistle in the final seconds of a game: "I don't know about that (premise), because we fouled Westbrook and Lillard at the end of games and they made the calls."
Eliot Clough: SVG on Zion not getting calls: "He doesn't flop, and he doesn't yell and scream at the referees. He gets to the free throw line a lot. I've had refs say to me 'How many FTs has he shot?' It's a stupid question. ... There's nights he should shoot 20."
After a converted layup by the Raptors, the five-time All-Star was shoved in the back and ran into the stanchion. Official Brandon Schwab tossed the ball to Love so he could inbound it in and an irritated Love spiked the ball with his left hand. Schwab is a G-League official and players expressed irritation with the consistency in calls, sources said. Players from around the league have shared their concerns privately and publicly with the influx of new officials this season.
Dwight Howard feels that his reputation has earned him more than a few technical fouls. On Saturday, the 76ers center was assessed his NBA-leading 15th technical foul. With the next one, he will receive a $5,000 fine and serve a one-game suspension. He received his 15th technical foul in Saturday’s 132-94 loss in Milwaukee. Howard was unavailable for comment after the game, but did discuss the matter following Monday’s 121-90 home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I do feel like I am being targeted, every night,” the 17th-year center said.
“I do feel like I’ve been targeted, but I am just going to continue to play as hard as I can,” he said. “I want the Philly fans to know that I am out there giving 130% every night. The calls might not go my way, I might seem a little frustrated, but I am out there to help this team win a championship.”
Howard understands it is not all the referees’ fault that he has received the 15 technicals. “I have to make sure that I hold myself accountable and do the right things and I hate it, I’ve got this many techs,” he said. “It doesn’t show my character, who I am as a person, a player, so I’ve got to do a better job of that, but a lot of my techs have been just really quick and when I’m on the court, I’m passionate, I want to win.”
Love’s intent wasn’t to slap the ball inbounds, sources said. Love was frustrated with officials and not his team’s performance, sources said. Brandon Schwab is a G-League official and players expressed irritation with the consistency in calls, sources said. Players from around the league have shared their concerns privately and publicly with the influx of new officials this season.
Neil Dalal: Russell Westbrook receives his 14th technical foul on the season from official John Conley and continues to argue his case to other officials into the timeout. He needs to avoid two more technicals over the remaining 11 games of the regular season to avoid a 1-game suspension.
Justin Grasso: Doc Rivers says he doesn’t think Dwight Howard should’ve gotten a tech. Rivers believes he got it because of his reputation. He also says that he only got a tech because he was defending Howard #Sixers
Law Murray: The NBA L2M report determined that CJ McCollum's foul called by Scott Foster that sent Paul George to the free throw line for the game-winning free throws was an incorrect call. In the spirit of Rasheed Wallace: Both teams were displeased by the officiating last night In
Kellan Olson: L2M report highlights: - Ayton was fouled on the strip where he hurt his shoulder - Bucks did not have possession when they called timeout with 2.5 left - Ayton fouled DiVincenzo on the Bridges 3 in OT - Connaughton should have got a 3-second call on the last possession of OT
Eric Nehm: P.J. Tucker: "It is what is. They made a call. I think in that situation, it's a tough call to make. Tied game, overtime, from all the plays that happened before, how the way the game was being officiated, I think that's a really tough call."
Jim Eichenhofer: Zion on the foul called against him on Westbrook's jumper, leading to game-winning free throws for Wizards: "For the people who know me, it's very tough. The last thing I want to do is fail my teammates. In the moment, that's what it felt like, sending him to the foul line."
JD Shaw: Kings guard De'Aaron Fox has been fined $20,000 for public criticism of the officiating, the league announced today.
Fox seethed over the officiating after the game, saying it was “god-awful” and “f------ terrible.” Fox was frustrated after he was awarded only six free throws while Mitchell went to the free-throw line 17 times. “S--- was god awful,” Fox said. “Mine wasn’t even about me getting there and things like that. It was about the calls they were getting on the other end. If you’re going to call something on one end, call it on the other end.
May 16, 2022 | 9:00 pm EDT Update
Kyrie Irving — who has a decision to make next month on whether to opt-in to the final year of his Brooklyn contract — sat down for the latest “I Am Athlete” episode. He lifted the lid on a host of topics, including saying the Cavaliers would’ve stayed together longer and won more if he’d been more mature. “If I was in the same maturity line and understanding of who I am, and I look back, we definitely, definitely would’ve won more championships, because there would’ve been a better man-to-man understanding about what I’m going through. I didn’t know how to share my emotions,” Irving said. “I didn’t know how to do that. So instead of sharing, I isolated myself.”
Kyrie Irving: “I just started pouring myself more into the game — I had one of my better seasons but I wasn’t connecting with everybody as much during the championship year. So 2017, it was a different year for us. We went against Golden State, we went against a great team. When you’re not a great team and not clicking on all cylinders and together, you’re easily defeated. You’re defeated before you can get to the arena.”
While Irving has a $36.5 million opt-in decision to make, he’s at a different place in his life than he was when he asked out of Cleveland at 24. In hindsight, he regrets not speaking to LeBron James beforehand. “We didn’t talk during that time,” Irving admitted. “When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did, because it would’ve been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us and we know how much power we both had together. Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would’ve definitely been worth it.”
“Frustrating from an organizational standpoint. but even more so from Ben’s,: said Marks. “I had a conversation with Ben. We all did. We saw how he wanted to get out there. To be honest, I’ve got to admire that. He tries to do 3-on-3, 5-on-5 and then you turn around and get an MRI, You see the disc herniation has gotten worse. and you think, well this guy is pushing through something that he shouldn’t be pushing through. Nobody wants to have surgery. It’s the last resort but it’s bygone now and we’ve got to move forward on this, we’ve got to support him and so forth.”
Asked for lessons learned from the Simmons off-again, on-again saga. Marks used the opportunity to critique the critics. “It’s a little bit of a testament that 1) he tried to get back out there and tried to help his teammates and secondly, we have to be careful not judge people. And if you’re outside that medical profession, when you’re chiming in from afar. You just have to be a bit careful of what you’re saying because you really don’t know,” said Marks.
Marks spoke as well about he and Steve Nash have had “honest conversations” both about last season and the upcoming one. He reiterated the need for “high character players” and said he “could see no reason why” both Joe Harris and Seth Curry won’t be back healthy and ready for camp. “The ultimate goal hasn’t changed, that’s to be the last team standing.”
Young LeBron James has been found. Marquis “Mookie” Cook, a high-ranking high school basketball player, has been cast as the NBA superstar in Shooting Stars, Universal and SpringHill Co.’s adaptation of the 2009 book by James and Buzz Bissinger.