Los Angeles Lakers Coach Pat Riley was fined $3,000 by the National Basketball Association today for having "cast aspersions on the integrity of one of our officials," Darell Garretson.
The league cited "a series of statements concerning officiating which were determined to be detrimental to the NBA and in violation of the league's constitution."
Garretson was one of the referees when the Lakers got a playoff-record-low five free throws in a 103-93 defeat in Philadelphia in the second game of the championship series. For the next two days, Riley continued to accuse Garretson, who is NBA officiating chief of staff as well as a working official, of being unfair to the Lakers--not only in that game but all season.
Riley issued a breakdown of calls made in the game, showing that Garretson made 15 calls against the Lakers and only one against the 76ers, while his officiating partner, John Vanak, made 15 calls for the 76ers and 14 for the Lakers.
"The integrity of our officials is one of the cornerstones of our game," said Commissioner Larry O'Brien, "a principle I consider to be inviolate."
Scotty Stirling, the league's vice president of operations, said Riley was instructed, through Lakers General Manager Jerry West, not to issue the breakdown of the officials' calls because it would "escalate an already unhealthy situation and place himself subject to a fine or suspension."
"This was not an emotional outburst against officials issued in anger immediately after a game, which I might understand and overlook," Stirling said in a letter to Riley informing him of the fine. Stirling also told Riley his actions "cannot and will not be tolerated."
"I'm going to just let it lay," said Riley.