Suns coach Monty Williams fined for criticism of NBA officials

Mar 24, 2023, 10:33 AM | Updated: 12:55 pm

The NBA on Friday fined Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams $20,000 for criticizing the referees in a Tuesday loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, league executive VP and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a release.

The Lakers took 46 foul shots to the Suns’ 20 in the 122-111 loss.

“I can sit here and rant and rave about what I feel like is not a fair whistle. It’s just not. … When do you see a game with 46 free throws? For one team? That’s just not right,” Williams said Tuesday before walking away from his postgame press conference.

“I don’t care how you slice it. It’s happening to us too much. Other teams are reaching, other teams are hitting and we’re not getting the same call and I’m tired of it. It’s old. … I’m over it.”

The Suns entered the game 28th in free throw rate and last in opposing free throw rate, highlighting the trend that for likely several reasons Phoenix gets to the line much less than its opponents.

Williams and his boss, president of basketball operations and GM James Jones, had criticized the officiating a week prior after a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in which Phoenix lost the free-throw battle 37-16. The head coach did not receive a fine for those comments.

The Suns had said they had discussed their issue with the foul discrepancy with the league since that Milwaukee game on March 14.

“I could sit here and go through what all of you guys already know. You just got to put my name on the quote,” Williams told reporters after the Bucks game. “You saw it. It’s just, it’s not fair. (Devin Booker) had three free throws I think, if I’m reading this right.

“Yeah, he’s got three free throws and Jrue Holiday is one of the most physical defenders in the game. He has three. Giannis has 24 free throws. It’s ridiculous.”

Williams last took a fine after Game 4 of a first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans during last year’s playoffs.

What did he say to illicit a fine by the NBA?

“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,” the Suns coach told reporters in April 2022. “It was 17-to-2 (free throw difference) in the first half. And then they end up with 42.”

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