Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will not be fined by the league for his postgame remarks and tweets directed at officials following a missed goaltend that resulted in a loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard was interviewed by the league on Saturday, sources said.
Jazz big man Rudy Gobert was credited with a game-saving block as Lillard drove to the basket for what would have been a game-tying layup with 11.2 seconds remaining in the game. Lillard’s shot hit the glass before Gobert swatted the ball, which is a clear goaltend violation that went uncalled.
The play could not be reviewed because the officials had to make the goaltend call to trigger a review.
After the game, a livid Lillard had to be restrained by director of security official Rick Riley from approaching the referees.
Sources said the explanation officials provided to a few members of the Trail Blazers on the court at the time of the controversy was that it “wasn’t even close” to a goaltend, which further infuriated the team.
"We get to the last play of the game, and they miss an easy call," Lillard said during his postgame address after the 117-114 loss. "And then they tell us that's an easy no-call, like that was obviously not a goaltend. It cost us a f---ing game, man.”
The loss dropped the Trail Blazers to 24-29, two and a half games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Portland is a team battling through numerous injuries to key players, and Lillard’s 42-point outburst was spoiled Friday night.
"We've since looked at it via postgame video review and unfortunately saw that we missed the play, and a goaltending violation should have been called," crew chief Josh Tiven told a pool reporter after the game.
Lillard tweeted, “We don’t want to hear that punk -ss s--t,” in his response to Tiven acknowledging the missed call.
The Trail Blazers are also irate with Jazz swingman Royce O’Neale for what the team considered a “dirty play” for his role in injuring guard Anfernee Simons, sources said.
Simons exited the game in the first quarter with a concussion after O’Neale found himself under the airborne guard while he was shooting. Simons landed on the feet of O’Neale, collapsed to the floor and banged the back of his head on the hardwood. He stayed down for several minutes before being escorted to the locker room.
Simons is now under the league’s concussion protocol program.
The Jazz and Trail Blazers face off for the fourth and final time in the regular season April 2 in Portland.
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