Suns big JaVale McGee isn’t even trying to speak on the officiating in Game 4, but appreciates Monty Williams doing so after Sunday’s loss in New Orleans.
“It makes you feel amazing,” McGee said. “Just having a voice out there for us, cause clearly we can’t say it. If we say it, it’s $50,000. It’s great having him say that.”
The NBA on Tuesday fined Williams $15,000 for “public criticism of officiating,” due to comments made during Sunday’s press conference after the Suns’ Game 4 loss in New Orleans that evened the series at 2-2.
“It’s definitely necessary,” McGee said about Williams speaking up after Game 4. “Everybody can see what’s going on out there. I’m not trying to get fined. I’m not going to speak on it.”
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Before Tuesday’s Game 5 at Footprint Center, Williams said he talked to the league Monday about the situation.
“You do your whole deal with them, they’re respectful,” Williams said. “They do get your money in a respectful way, but it’s over with. It’s behind me.”
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins was also fined $15,000 for publicly criticizing the officiating after Memphis’ Game 4 loss Saturday at Minnesota.
“For me, I feel like I’ve always been a person who has never disrespected anyone, especially the league or the officials,” Williams said Tuesday. “When I spoke up the other day, I was speaking from my heart, but I thought I did it in a way that was relatively respectful and I’ll continue to do that. I don’t want to give up that kind of money, but money has never been my driving force as it relates to our team. I care about the group we have and when you care, you sacrifice things.”
After Sunday’s Game 4 in New Orleans, Williams pointed out how the Pelicans attempted 42 free throws compared to the 15 the Suns attempted.
“Let me say this, “42 to 15 in free throws,” Williams said. “You can slice it any way you want to. In a playoff game that physical, that’s amazing, OK. Coaches shouldn’t have to come up to the microphone and feel like they’re going to get their heads cut off for speaking the truth.”
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New Orleans made 32 while Phoenix connected on 10.
“That’s hard to do in a game like that,” Williams continued. “And it’s not like we don’t attack the basket. That’s really hard to do. So look, they outplayed us. They deserve to win, (but) that’s a free throw disparity that you have to look at.”
The Pelicans attempted 17 free throws in the first half (made 12) while Phoenix had only two attempts (made both).
“For me, it was saying what I had to say and speaking the truth,” Williams said before Tuesday’s game. “I wasn’t disrespectful, in my opinion, but it’s behind me.”
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Williams also received a technical foul with 4:44 left in the game as he took issue with the ball being called off Jae Crowder’s leg.
“I’ve looked at a number of angles on that call,” Williams said. “Jae hit the ball, it hit (Brandon Ingram’s) leg and then Jae’s hand hit his thigh after he hit the ball and the ball was gone,” Williams said. “So I’m like, what do you do, but that’s a huge disparity in a game like. That’s hard to swallow.”
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.
Like McGee, Mikal Bridges wasn’t trying to say much about the officiating, but said he agrees with what Williams said after the game.
He also appreciates Williams getting on the officials during the game.
“Let him handle it and we just go out there and play,” Bridges said.
McGee said he’s fine with the physical play, but wants the game called the same on both sides.
“I love the physicality, I just want it to be both ways,” McGee said. “If they can knock us out, we should be able to knock them out with no call. I’m cool with that, but I don’t like the fact that if they do it to us and we do it to them, it’s not called the same way. That’s what I don’t like about it. I love the physicality, though.”
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