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Wednesday, October 14, 2009
NBA slaps fine on Grizzlies' Hollins

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for comments about officiating made earlier this week.

The comments came after his team's 102-83 loss to Orlando on Monday night and came when someone asked the Memphis coach about rookie Hasheem Thabeet's time on the court with Magic All-Star center Dwight Howard.

Charlotte coach Larry Brown was also fined on Wednesday by the league. He was hit for $60,000 and the Bobcats organization another $60,000 after Brown was ejected from an exhibition game.

Hollins said Wednesday night before the Grizzlies game against the Atlanta Hawks that his comments were taken out of context and were intended to be sarcastic towards a questioner asking to compare the play of a rookie against a player the stature of Howard.

"It was not even directed at the officials," Hollins said. "But, I was quoted, and I have to pay the consequences."

The coach noted that his team was down throughout the game, and believes calls usually even out. He couldn't recall being fined before, particularly as a coach, and the scenario of a preseason game and his team not playing well didn't warrant him criticizing officials Monday.

"I've never had any issues with officiating," Hollins said. "I didn't have any issues in this particular game with officiating. We were down 20 points at the end of the game. I had some issues with some of our players and their efforts at times, and their execution."

The league currently is using replacement officials because of a lockout of the league's regular referees. The replacement group has been under scrutiny to see if they can measure up to the locked out officials.

The league doesn't allow criticism of officials anytime and routinely hands out fine for such comments. That policy was reinforced before the preseason schedule when the replacements took the floor.

While acknowledging he said it, Hollins said the comments were not intended to cast a bad light on the officials in the Orlando game.

As for the fine, "It hurts," Hollins said with a chuckle. "I don't like to lose money at all. I hope they take it in installments."