Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton received a $15,000 fine from the NBA on Wednesday for public criticism of officiating, while Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris received a similar fine for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Walton spoke out against perceived foul disparity following the Lakers’ 143-142 overtime loss at home to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday.
“Let me start here. ... I wasn’t going to say anything. I was going to save my money, but I just can’t anymore,” Walton said. “It’s points in the paint (by the Lakers) to 50, [and yet] again they outshoot us from the free-throw line — 38 free throws (to 26 by the Lakers). Watch the play where I got a technical foul. Watch what happened to LeBron James’ arm. It’s the same thing that James Harden and Chris Paul shot 30 free throws on us the night before. Then LeBron pulls up on a screen, somebody (is) trying to fight over. Same thing they shot free throws on. Same thing.”
Los Angeles players showed visible frustration on the court during the loss, which dropped the team to 0-3. The Lakers have had fewer chances at the line in each of their last two games, getting the same amount as the Portland Trail Blazers in their season opener but converting five fewer.
Walton used Josh Hart as an example of a Lakers player attacking the rim but not getting foul calls. Hart didn’t take any free-throw shots despite playing 39 minutes against the Spurs.
“To me, it doesn’t matter. I know they’re young, I get that. But if we are going to play a certain way, let’s not reward people for flopping 30 feet from the hole on plays that have nothing to do with that possession,” Walton said. “They’re just flopping just to see if they get a foul call. And then not reward players that are physically going to the basket and getting hit. It’s not right.”
Walton’s rant came a day after Lakers players Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo received suspensions from the NBA in response to an on-court fight Saturday night against the Houston Rockets. Ingram was banned for four games without pay, and Rondo three games without pay.
Also Wednesday, Morris was fined $15,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct, announced Kiki VanDeWeghe, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations.
Morris wasn’t in the game at the time on Monday when he twice grabbed the uniform of Portland Trail Blazers guard Seth Curry. The incidents occurred on the final play of the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 125-124 overtime win over Portland at Moda Center in Portland.
—Field Level Media