The Suns have been struggling of late, with six losses it their past eight games, as they try to hold onto the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. For head coach Monty Williams, frustration boiled over Wednesday night in the form of criticizing officials.
The NBA announced Friday that Williams had been fined $20,000 for his comments about the referees following Phoenix’s 122-111 loss to the Lakers. In that game, Los Angeles widely outdistanced Phoenix in free throw attempts with a 46-20 advantage.
“That’s just not right, I don’t care how you slice it,” Williams said after Wednesday’s game. “It is happening to us too much. Other teams are reaching. Other teams are hitting, and we’re not getting the same call, and I’m tired of it. It’s old.”
Williams seemed to be frustrated by more than just that one game, as he mentioned his team has been getting a bad whistle for some time. He pointed to the Suns’ previous loss against the Thunder on March 19 as another example.
“Doesn’t matter what team it is. Last game, Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander], I think he had 19 free throws,” Williams said. “And it’s old, and so I’m tired of talking about free throws. Our guys have to do their job. We understand that, but that’s a huge disparity. Forty-six free throws. And I’ll say it again: 46 to 20. That’s it. That’s all I got to say.”
The Suns have played two games since those comments, a 135-127 loss to the Kings on Friday and a 125-105 victory over the Sixers on Saturday. In both those games, the Suns took fewer free throw attempts, 32-29 against Sacramento and 27-19 against Philadelphia.
Phoenix currently has a half-game lead over the Clippers and Warriors for the No. 4 seed and sits just two games ahead of teams currently in position for the play-in tournament.