Hawks guard Trae Young paused in the middle of his postgame comments, perhaps wondering if he was going too far — or sensing that he already had. “I don’t want to get fined too much, but it’s frustrating,” the Atlanta star said. There’s no telling how the league will receive Young’s latest words. This wasn’t some unhinged rant, but he certainly had plenty to say about the officiating after the Hawks lost 122-111 to Washington on Thursday night. Young was one of five players who received a technical foul during the game, and another one was given out for delay of game.
"There's a lot of missed calls," he said. "It's basketball. It's just, it feels that they're learning, and they're just -- I don't know. It's frustrating." Young went into more detail moments later. There's a new crackdown this season on non-basketball moves designed to draw contact. Officials aren't supposed to call defensive fouls when that happens, and Young and James Harden are often mentioned as players who could be significantly affected. Young averaged 8.7 free throw attempts a game last season. He's averaging 4.4 this season after taking only three Thursday. "I saw James said it's about him, but it's not targeting just one player or two players," Young said.
Young mentioned Damian Lillard and Devin Booker, a couple of other star scorers off to relatively slow starts. "You can watch basketball. Damian Lillard's never averaged 17 points probably since his rookie year," Young said. "There's a couple guys. I mean, Book's averaging 18. There's a lot of things that, when guys are driving straight and guys are getting knocked off balance -- it's still a foul, whether they're using their lower body or their hands."
Sarah K. Spencer: I asked Nate McMillan about the Hawks looking frustrated tonight, and he basically said they've got to overcome it: "The officiating can't be a distraction. We had 4 or 5 techs tonight. That's ridiculous. It wasn't the officiating that was beating us, it was our play."
Salman Ali: Jalen Green on not attempting a free throw yet: "I understand I'm a rookie and I'm not going to get calls like that. It's a man's league anyways. I just have to be strong and keep playing aggressive."
Will Guillory: KAT already picks up his first tech of the night after another no-call in the post against Jonas. Won't be surprised if things get spicy between those two at some point tonight.
Alex Schiffer: James Harden on the rule change: “It’s still basketball. A foul is a foul…for me you have to keep going.” Concurs with Nash on being the poster boy, but says it can’t be an excuse. Has asked refs to call what they see.
Joe Vardon: Trae Young, sporting a Braves jersey in honor of Game 6, said his tech tonight was sparked by a ref ‘mean mugging me, lookin me in the eye.’ Trae said he said ‘why you makin it personal?’ And, boom. He also said he expects the fine to be rescinded.
Keith Smith: Ime Udoka: "I told the group that was as ugly as it could get. I told them one thing I can't stand is to get punked. We got punked out there. They played harder than us. I told them to use the crowd's boos as motivation."
Matt George: De'Aaron Fox says the Kings don't expect to get calls. Says they wont get calls in practice because that's what they expect in games.
Eddie Sefko: Luka Doncic on dealing with the referees in preseason: “It’s better, but it’s only preseason. Now the real deal starts, so we’ll see then how it looks. It’s hard, but it’s something I have to do. t’s a part of the game I need to control better. And I think it’s getting better.
Jay King: Ime Udoka said the Celtics got a little chippy at practice today and he told them to let him be the one to “bitch at the refs.” “We’re not gonna be a team that cries the whole time. That’s definitely not me.”
Luka Doncic’s disappointment with Slovenia’s loss to France in the second Olympic Games semifinal was more than obvious in the finale with the Dallas Mavericks superstar also expressing his frustration on his way to the locker room. After the end of the game, Doncic was shouting “FIBA is probably happy” while walking through the media mixed zone per '15min'. He was also reported to shout “FIBA happened” while Slovenia big man Ziga Dimec was being asked questions about the game.
Slovenia had several complaints with the officiating and particularly with a play halfway through the fourth period and the score tied at 78 where Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot blocked Jaka Blazic’s layup attempt. Blazic protested that it was a goaltending violation and he received a technical foul.
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.
May 17, 2022 | 4:40 pm EDT Update
David Hardisty: Chet Holmgren says he thinks he can be a “50-40-90 player” in the NBA. He believes his ability to create his own shot and score on his own will be on display.
Callie Caplan: Warriors’ Kevon Looney on Luka Doncic-James Harden comparisons after guarding Harden in past series: “Luka’s able to post up pretty much anybody when he gets his shoulder on you. … The biggest difference is the size. Luka’s really strong. That kind of surprised me this year.”
Sean Cunningham: Anjali Ranadive, daughter of Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, is the new Assistant General Manager of the G League Stockton Kings, according to multiple sources. She is with the Kings in Chicago for the week’s NBA Draft Combine.
Sean Cunningham: Anjali Ranadive will assist all aspects of basketball ops, including G league player evaluations & development, strategy, among others. She’s been with the organization working in the Social Responsibility dept. & she’s excited to bring her passion for basketball to her new role.