The NBA on Tuesday levied fines totaling $75,000 against three star players on the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors for their public criticism of officials during and after Friday’s controversial loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Draymond Green earned a $35,000 fine “for making statements on social media which impugned the integrity of NBA officiating,” Stephen Curry was hit with a $25,000 bill “for his actions and public statements impugning the integrity of NBA officiating,” and Kevin Durant received a $15,000 fine for publicly criticizing officials.
The entirety of Friday’s game was sloppy, as are most games in which the Warriors lose to a lottery team, but the real mess began with five seconds left in overtime.
With his team trailing 130-127, Durant received an inbounds pass and appeared to be fouled by Keita Bates-Diop in the act of shooting — and making — a 3-pointer that would have given Golden State a chance to take the lead at the free throw line.
Instead, referee Marat Kogut said the foul occurred prior to the shot, and it was Warriors ball on the sidelines again. This time, Curry took the inbounds pass and made a game-tying 3 over Jerryd Bayless with 0.5 seconds on the clock. He then proceeded to point at Kogut in a mocking manner on his way back down the floor.
Then, on the ensuing inbounds pass to Karl-Anthony Towns, Leon Wood called Durant for a dead-ball foul on Karl-Anthony Towns that resulted in the game-winning free throw for the Timberwolves and the 131-130 loss for the Warriors. Afterwards, both Durant and Curry threw jabs at Kogut in their news conferences.
“Marat? Is that his name? He was the best player on the floor tonight,” said Durant, who repeatedly deflected questions on the subject in hopes of avoiding another fine. “He’s so good with his whistle that he knew they were going to foul me and he called it right before I shot the ball, so he’s one of the greatest refs of all time.”
Faced with the question of which of the two game-changing calls involving Durant was worse, Curry said, “You’d have to ask the MVP of the night, Marat Kogut.”
When asked if he felt the refs got revenge for his taunt of Kogut, he added, “If that’s the case, that’s indicative of the entire game — not officiating the game itself and letting emotions get in the way with whatever kind of agenda they have coming in.”
Hours later, Green took to Twitter and fired off the following messages:
The fine against Green for his social media response suggests the NBA interpreted those tweets as many others did — the initials of Kogut and Tim Donaghy, the disgraced former NBA official who went to prison as part of a gambling scandal.
Adding fuel to Friday’s officiating controversy was the NBA’s last two-minute report, which dubbed both the non-shooting foul and Durant’s hold of Towns correct calls.