Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has been handed a $25,000 fine for publicly criticising referees after his team's 108-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors in game four of the NBA Finals.
Lue received the sanction after saying LeBron James "never gets calls". He was upset that his star player only shot four free throws in the game despite numerous drives to the basket.
The officiating appeared to be more lenient than usual in that encounter as they seemed happy to allow both teams to get away with contact.
"He never gets calls," Lue said post-game on Friday. "I mean, he attacks. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he's one of the guys that attacks the paint every single play. And he doesn't get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength and because of his power and guys bounce off of him. But those are still fouls, and we weren't able to get them. But we've got to play through officiating."
The rookie head coach may have a point. James has only been to the charity stripe 17 times over the four games and could average the fewest free throws per game in any series of his career.
"It's been like that all year, for the most part," James said after the loss. "I'm not quite sure what I can do personally to get to the free throw line, but I've got to continue to be aggressive for our team.
"I'm getting hit, but the refs are not seeing it that way on my drives. ... It's tough playing 46 minutes and only going to the line four times, as much as I attack the rim. So it's just a tough situation for our team."
The Cavaliers are in a perilous position heading into game five as they trail 3-1. An elimination game at the Oracle Arena is a daunting task for any team, but the contest may have been made a little bit easier for the Wine and Gold.
Draymond Green has been suspended for the encounter after an incident with LeBron saw him pick up a flagrant foul upon review by the league, which triggered an automatic one-match suspension.
Green is the first line of defence for the Warriors and is the vocal leader for the team on the floor. His absence will be a blow for the Dubs but with MVP Steph Curry at your disposal, you can still win any game.
But for Cleveland, it offers some hope of keeping the series alive and clinging on to a faint chance of resurrecting their championship hopes.
No team has ever overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals which shows the size of the task the Cavs are facing.