In the Lakers’ loss to the Rockets last Saturday, Luke Walton and the Lakers were pissed off about the officiating, but they largely bit their tongues. Nobody likes getting fined. But after Monday night’s loss to the Spurs, Walton couldn’t hold back anymore.
“I wasn’t going to say anything, because I was going to save my money,” Walton said. “But I just can’t anymore.
“It’s 70-something points in the paint to 50-something (74 to 50), again they outshoot us from the free throw line, 38 free throws (the Lakers had 26). Watch the play — watch the play where I got a technical, watch what happens 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 and somebody’s trying to fight over it, same thing they shot free throws on. Same thing.
“We are scoring 70 points a night in the paint. We’re putting pressure on. Josh Hart, watch how plays the game, played 40 minutes tonight, all he does is attack the rim — zero free throws tonight. Zero. I know they’re young, but if we’re going to play a certain way then let’s not reward people for flopping 30 feet from the hole on plays that have nothing to do with that possession. They’re just flopping to see if they can get a foul call. And then not reward players who are physically going to the basket and getting hit. That’s not right.”
Walton was right about one thing: that rant cost him money. Walton was fined $15,000 for “public criticism of the officiating,” the league announced Wednesday.
The question that remains: Will the price be worth it? Walton ranted hoping NBA officials would hear and treat his team a little differently. We’ll see if that happens.