Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of officiating against the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA announced.
In the team’s third consecutive loss to begin the 2018-19 NBA season, Walton initially avoided a question about officiating but decided to stand up for his players.
“I wasn’t going to say anything because I was going to save my money, but I just can’t anymore,” Walton to begin his postgame press conference against the Spurs. “Seventy-something points in the paint to 50-something. Again, [the opponent] out-shoots us from the free throw line. Thirty-eight free throws.”
Although it is a small sample size, the Lakers are averaging 71.3 points in the paint, which is the second-best in the league.
Despite their concerted effort to get into the paint, they attempted 12 fewer free throws against the Spurs.
With the NBA implementing new rules, there has been inconsistency since the start of the preseason. For LeBron James who was fouled multiple times but did not get his usual calls, he has struggled to adjust so far.
“You literally can’t touch anybody. Well, you can. You can touch somebody. But defensively, we don’t know,” James said following the loss to the Spurs. “We’re trying to figure it out. We’ve got to try to figure that out because it’s just giving teams too many easy opportunities to just go up there and knock down free throws.”
With Walton and the Lakers adjusting to the league’s new rules, it is important they establish themselves as a physical defensive team. As it resulted in a fine, it will be interesting to see if these rules are called for both teams moving forward.
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