Jackson fined for comments on Durant
LOS ANGELES -- For the second time in two weeks, Lakers coach Phil Jackson has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials, it was announced Thursday by Stu Jackson, the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations.
Jackson was fined for comments made in reference to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, the third-year forward who led the league in free throw attempts with 10.3 per game this season. The Lakers tip off their first-round playoff series against Durant and the Thunder on Sunday.
"As far as the calls that he gets on the floor, I think a lot of the referees are treating him like a superstar; he gets to the line easy and often," Jackson said on Tuesday, prior to Los Angeles' game against Sacramento.
Boston's Kevin Garnett made a similar derisive claim after the Celtics' 109-104 loss to the Thunder on March 31, saying the calls Durant was receiving made it seem like he was "Michael [expletive] Jordan."
Durant, informed of Jackson's comments on Wednesday, said he felt "disrespected."
"Because it's taking away from what I do," Durant told The Oklahoman. "That's part of my game, getting to the free throw line and being aggressive. If you say that I get superstar calls or I get babied by the refs, that's just taking away from how I play. That's disrespectful to me."
Jackson was fined earlier in the month for comments after a game against San Antonio. He said the "referees turned against us" after technical fouls were drawn by Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant. He also called out veteran official Bennett Salvatore by name and said, "With Bennett you don't know what you're going to get."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.