The NBA hit Sacramento Kings coach Mike Brown with a hefty fine following his fiery confrontation with an official in Sunday’s 143-142 overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brown was fined $50,000 for aggressively pursuing an official and publicly criticizing officials, Joe Dumars, the league’s head of basketball operations, announced Tuesday as the Kings prepared to play the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center.
Brown was ejected with 9:27 to play in the fourth quarter Sunday. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year was furious after officials failed to call Bucks guard Cameron Payne for an obvious foul on Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox.
Brown stepped onto the floor and angrily confronted first-year official Intae Hwang. Kings guard Malik Monk and forward Trey Lyles restrained Brown, who was immediately assessed two technical fouls and an automatic ejection.
During his postgame news conference, Brown used a laptop computer and video replays to explain why he was so upset with officials, but he started by holding himself accountable for his actions.
“Tough loss,” Brown said. “The first thing I’d like to do is apologize to my team for putting them in a deeper hole than we were already in, getting kicked out. I’ve got to learn how to keep my composure.”
Brown went on to say his frustration with officials stemmed from a number of calls throughout the game, not just the missed foul on Fox in the fourth quarter.
“I just want to show you guys why I got kicked out of the game,” Brown said before beginning his video presentation.
Brown pointed specifically to three plays. The first was a Brook Lopez foul on Monk late in the first half that was overturned upon review.
“At the half, we were down I think 19-5 in free throws,” Brown said. “I know that happens sometimes, but that’s very frustrating when, at the end of the half, Malk drives, Lopez comes over and goes vertical with the forearm down here (in the body). Now, from what the NBA tells me, if you go vertical, you’ve got to have two hands up. Because (Kings center Domantas Sabonis) has his hand down here a lot and they call him for it every time, and they always tell us, ‘Well, he got a forearm here,’ and tonight they said the forearm can be here as long as it’s not extended, so I don’t know what the rules are in this situation.
“I need a clarification because, again, two hands up is what the rule is on verticality, but they were here and they said Lopez could do this. That’s a five-point swing. They take away the two free throws and then Milwaukee goes down and hits a 3, and to end the half at 19-5, that’s tough to deal with, especially when you’re getting told different interpretations on a rule.”
Brown also mentioned a call that went against Fox late in the third quarter, sending Lillard to the line for three free throws.
“You can go back and watch,” Brown said. “Fox barely puts his hand on (Damian Lillard’s) hip. OK, incidental contact. He didn’t push him or anything. He barely puts his hand on there, and they give him three free throws. ... Now, watch this, the kid, Cam Payne, hooks (Fox), hooks his arm. Look at Fox’s arm when he spins off of this. Hooks his arm. He almost falls. No incidental contact. He hooks his arm and almost falls and there’s no foul.
“To me, as a coach ... I’m OK as a coach because the referees are human and they’re going to make mistakes, but you just hope: A) There’s some sort of consistency; B) There’s some sort of communication between the refs. Tonight, the refs were great. They communicated with me all night, but in terms of the consistency, you guys saw it right here. Dame coming off the pick-and-roll and Foxy getting hooked and almost falling coming off the pick-and-roll. On top of that, if you get communication and you get some form of consistency in the game, then you can live with some things, but the consistency in my opinion wasn’t there tonight.”