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Heat coach Spoelstra fined $25,000 for criticizing officials

May 25, 2012, 6:09 PM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Five Getty Images

You want to read a $25,000 quote?

“The league does not have a problem with hard fouls on our two main guys. In nine games now there’s been over a dozen hard fouls to the face, some of the tomahawk variety, some have drawn blood. They don’t have a problem with it so we don’t have a problem with it. We’ll focus on what we can control.”

That was Heat coach Erik Spoelstra between games five and six of of the Heat’s series against the Pacers, after blood was drawn on a foul against Dwyane Wade and it was Udonis Haslem‘s retaliation that got the Heat forward suspended for a game. Which, actually was the right call but it’s not how it played in the Heat locker room.

Friday the league came down on Spoelstra with a $25,000 fine. Because while everyone else can criticize the officials players and coaches cannot. It undermines the product in the eyes of the NBA.

Not cheap for Heat, but Spoelstra is willing to pay it to let the team know he has their back.

  1. bleed4philly - May 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Yeah cause they are notorious for flopping!!!

  2. jtchernak - May 25, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    I respect anybody that criticizes the refs

  3. delfi2 - May 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Coach Spo gaining respect. Nice job on making adjustments, such as putting Battier on West for streches of the game to give LeBron a little rest. This gave LeBron more energy towards the closing moments of the game, and it also gave David West various looks on defense, seemingly it had an effect on him. (minus gm6 24pts).

    Nice job to the Heat for stepping up to the challenge presented by Indiana. They definitely were pushed and nudged a bit.

    • davidly - May 26, 2012 at 7:24 AM

      You’re absolutely correct.

  4. lemfaxx - May 25, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    They are just human. Much better if we put 5 refs n d post season:)

  5. bearsstillsuck - May 25, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    You’d hear less bitching in an all girls middle school league.

    • sabatimus - May 25, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Except from you.

    • brokenmarine - May 26, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      It is obvious to me that you have never been to a girls middle girls game, having two athlete daughters that played basketball, all I can say is that in any sport that I have been involved with either as a spectator or coach, girls/women are way more passionate that boy/men of the same age. I have to athlete sons also. The crowd gets behind them and the girls are very hard on themselves. So think before you speak of something you know obviously know nothing about. Nuff said.

      • rufe - May 26, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        Do you realize how much of an idiot Bryant Gumbel sounds like when he uses the ’nuff said’ bit regardless of what he said before that? Like everyone can go home now because he has spoken. Just sayin.

  6. jimmymarlinsfan - May 25, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Well earned Spo…never be afraid to cheap shot the refs when they choose to look the other way when Wade and James get hacked

  7. nofunleague - May 25, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    I think any league that has trouble with players/coaches criticizing refs has far greater problems.
    So what if a player or coach rants. Who gets hurt.? There is absolutely nothing a player or coach can do to cost a ref money, but a bad call can cost a series win a championship, a ring whatever and everyone is supposed to turn the other cheek. BS. Basketball refs are the worst in any major sport and to protect them from criticism is ridiculous. Grow up you babies. A coach says, the calls were lousy , so what.

  8. rufe - May 26, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    It was’nt mentioned that announcers and the networks as a whole cannot criticize the refs either. It will have a bearing on tv contracts if they do. What Sterns gag order is basically saying to the fan is “You’re not smart enough to know what is or what is not a foul or anything else. So you just pay us the money, watch the game and leave all this complex stuff to us.” His legalese explanations of controversy and condescending smirk amplify that this is exactly what he thinks of the NBA fan.

  9. kavika6 - May 26, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    I can’t wait for the Finals. San Antonio doesn’t need to play dirty or critisize refs. Even with Miami’s flops and dirty plays the Spurs will make quick work of them. Popovich vs “the Puppet”. Any doubt?

  10. davidly - May 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    Point Spoelstra. He got out of the series not only the victory, but half the price of the opposing coach.

    Indiana took it to ’em for a few games. Then the Heat rose to the challenge. Pacers buckled under that pressure and quit taking it to ’em. It can be both.

    The coaches and players and commentators should be allowed to say what they want. Some of it would be warranted some of it not. Taken together, it’d be an honest assessment. Stern doesn’t want an honest assessment of his league.

  11. truthhurtstoo - May 26, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    Pacers were SO outclassed in talent that all they had was to play like thugs. Whining to the refs before the series even started… remember?
    No matter, the Heat OWNED them and waiting for the next round.

  12. rodge1 - May 26, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    I like reading posts from the brand-new Spurs’ fans. Glad you found a new to cheer for this month.

    • bstmusic1 - May 26, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      Not only is your comment inane, you really need to learn English.

  13. chiefagc5675 - May 26, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    I only watch pro basketball in the playoffs and only one or two teams- the game has evolved into
    stand up football without pads. Almost everyone dribbling palms the ball- I’ve only seen it called once
    and Stevie Wonder could have called that one. They no longer call discontinued dribbling. I look for college tackles to soon be on the draft list of leading teams- they need bigger guys blocking- I know they call it a screen but it’s blocking. Then you sometimes see a foul called because somebody touched the guy with the ball- no consistancy- other times the guy with the ball is knocked down but there’s no call. The coach is right. I think the refs have been told not to have a parade to the foul line in playoff games.

    • davidly - May 26, 2012 at 8:34 AM

      Well, you are right: the coach is right. And I suppose you’re aware of all of what I am going to say here, but, here goes: he also benefits disproportionately from the state of affairs you describe. The greater the player, the more they get to palm the ball, either traveling in the process or with a double-dribble, and then they hook, push and bully their way to the basket. And they still get more calls than go against them.

      My dad used to say, “It used to be, you couldn’t touch the guy.” I would be interested in seeing the game played that way again. The most talented ball-handlers would thrive because they would have to use sheer balance and agility without leaning on anyone on the way to the hoop. It would separate those with pure skill from those with a lot of skill, but always getting the benefit of the doubt come whistle time.

      To be fair, it’s not the players’ fault. I imagine that LeBron James and Chris Paul would excel in an old-old-school, you-can’t-touch-the-guy kind of game. And Wade has become a flopper as an adjustment to the league’s style of play, but I think he’d’ve had as great a career even if he couldn’t bowl over guys in the paint. Shaq on the other hand…

      Travelling is to hoops what Holding is to football: it happens on every play, and they call it when they need to, often to make up for a blown call at the other end.

  14. gmsingh - May 26, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Spoelstra has every right to criticize the refs–right after he criticizes the Heat players for all the dirty crap they pulled.

  15. rodge1 - May 26, 2012 at 9:15 AM


    Whoops… I forgot to type the word ‘team’ in there. So now I need to learn English? I won’t take offense though. This clearly isn’t about me but about the unhappiness in your own life. Keep hating hater…

    • jimmymarlinsfan - May 26, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      I believe he quoted the wrong person and meant to quote the obnoxious spurs fan like you did

  16. rodge1 - May 26, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Maybe you’re right jimmy, but he replied to my post… How about them Marlins last night?!!!!

  17. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - May 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    When they don’t win a title again I doubt the players will have his back.

  18. deiong - May 26, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    funny how the ones who foul the hardest and dirtiest are the same ones who cry the loudest when they get fouled

    • bcirej - May 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      So right, so right. When Wade mugged the Pacer player from behind and only got a flagrant 1, therefore no suspension, it made it clear to the Pacers what they had to do, and what the NBA was going to allow. The Heat got away with just as much as the Pacers.

  19. rodge1 - May 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Even funnier how the haters come across as scorned-ex-girlfriends. LeBron chose Miami, let it go. There are plenty of fish in the sea…

  20. censoredpost - May 26, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Worst Officiating in sports. “Star Calls” and whistles on whiffs make the game hard to watch at times (lakers 48 free throws, and I’m a fan). I know it’s hard but it seems like they are not even trying or are trying to do something they shouldn’t be. Bad calls are a part of BBall as they are in all other sports. Just at a MUCH higher rate of frequency . Hard to miss these ones though….

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