Memphis forward Zach Randolph had 23 points and 17 rebounds in a loss to Houston. (MCT/Getty Images)
"It's obvious, it was the refs tonight," Randolph said, when asked for the game's turning point. "Eight against five. The game -- in the second half -- the man was shooting free throws every time. We're out there playing hard. They're dictating the game. It can't be like that, man. We're out here playing too."
Randolph is certainly entitled to his opinion, but for expressing it publicly the NBA saw fit to fine him $25,000 on Friday. The league office has very little tolerance for public criticism of officiating from its players, coaches, and team personnel, and Randolph joins Nuggets guard Nate Robinson and Knicks head coach Mike Woodson among those punished for ripping game officials.
You don't have to dig too far to find the cause of Randolph's complaints: the Rockets attempted 40 free throws and were whistled for 19 fouls, while the Grizzlies attempted 20 free throws and were whistled for 30 fouls.
"It was horrible refereeing -- a horrible game they reffed tonight," Randolph continued. "Awful. They dictated the game. Plain, point simple. They dictated the game. We're out here working as hard as them. Come on, man."
The comments -- directed at the work of James Capers, Pat Fraher and Karl Lane -- will almost certainly cost Randolph some money once they make their way to the NBA league office, which frowns upon public criticism of the officiating.
"The man" that Randolph was referring to above is surely James Harden, who shot 22-for-25 from the free-throw line. The Rockets' All-Star guard finished with 27 points, even though he shot just 2-for-9 from the field, and he became the first player in NBA history to score 27 or more points while making only two field-goal attempts. He also tied the Rockets' franchise record with 22 made free-throws.
"I couldn't make a shot," Harden said, according to NBA.com. "I just tried to get to the rim. ... I just wanted to get into attack mode."
Randolph led the Grizzlies with 23 points (on 8-for-20 shooting) and 17 rebounds. He was 7-for-12 from the free-throw line.
Houston improved to 20-11 with the win; Memphis dropped to 12-16 with the loss.