The NBA has fined Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy $25,000 for public criticism of referees, the league announced on Monday. Van Gundy made the comments during and after Game 1, saying the referees avoid calling offensive fouls on LeBron James during his team’s 106–101 loss on Sunday.
Talking to ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters after the first quarter, Van Gundy expressed his frustration with what he believed were two missed calls on James.
“A couple calls have upset our guys,” Van Gundy told Salters. “They’ve got to understand, LeBron’s LeBron. They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They’ve got to understand that.”
After the game, Van Gundy made it clear that he was not blaming the officiating for the loss, saying that the referees improved after the first quarter.
“Look, I thought it evened out really well,” Van Gundy said. “But early on, I thought there were two pretty obvious offensive fouls down there on him. But it’s two calls in an entire game after that. Look, the refereeing had nothing to do with tonight. They did a good job. It went both ways. I thought they did a really good job. It was decided by the players on the floor, as it should be.”
James finished the game with 22 points, third on the Cavaliers behind Kyrie Irving (31) and Kevin Love (28). He also finished with a game-high 11 assists.
The next matchup is in Cleveland on Wednesday.