Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra asked the NBA not to fine him, and the league obliged. Despite criticizing the officials following Sunday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, Spoelstra managed to avoid a fine from the NBA.
Spoelstra’s comments came after officials missed a double dribble by Kevin Durant on the Warriors’ final possession of the game. With the contest tied 118-118, Durant appeared to lose his dribble while trying to cross up a defender. He recovered, continued dribbling and then put up a shot.
While that shot didn’t go in, DeMarcus Cousins was able to pull down the rebound. Cousins was fouled on his way back up and drained both free throws to give the Warriors the eventual 120-118 win.
After the game, Spoelstra openly criticized the refs for missing that call, according to the Sun-Sentinel. He started his rant by saying, “NBA, do not fine me. I’m allowed to say this.”
After pointing out that the Heat only had eight free throw chances against the Warriors’ 28, Spoelstra got to the main issue.
“It’s a double dribble. Everybody can see it. Those are tough calls to make, but everybody saw it. It’s right there in front of everybody. That should be a violation. You can’t miss those calls.”
The NBA admitted Spoelstra was right about the dribble. In the league’s “Last Two Minute Report,” it said Durant should have been called for a “discontinued dribble.” The league looked at the play from multiple angles, and confirmed the ball did not make contact with Heat forward Justice Winslow’s foot.
The NBA isn’t going to reverse the outcome of the game based on that missed call, so Spoelstra can’t feel fully vindicated. But at least he won’t also be out a significant amount of money after those comments.
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