Seething Lillard slams refs over blown call
LOS ANGELES, USA – Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is prepared to pay the price after making his anger with officials plain in the wake of a 117-114 NBA loss to the Utah Jazz.
Lillard and the Trail Blazers were furious on Friday night, February 7, after game officials missed a goaltending violation call – an error that cost Portland a chance to tie the game in the final seconds.
With 19.5 seconds remaining in the game in Salt Lake City, Utah's Donovan Mitchell scored a go-ahead layup.
Lillard tried to answer with a layup at the other end, but Rudy Gobert blocked the shot with 11.2 seconds left.
But Gobert blocked the shot off the glass in what should have been called illegal goaltending.
"It's an easy call," Lillard said after the game. "Three referees out there and they don't call that."
He was even more incensed after officials confirmed to a pool reporter that they blew it.
"I don't want to see no report about 'Oh we should've called it,' or none of that," Lillard said.
Damian Lillard is incredibly upset after a missed goaltend call on a game tying layup with 9 seconds remaining in the game pic.twitter.com/fh1YF1G83b— Ball Realm (@TheBallRealm) February 8, 2020
The defeat could be key for a Portland team chasing the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West – with the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans breathing down their necks.
"We're in the playoff race and we need every game we can get," Lillard said. "And then you want us to walk away and say nothing? Cost us the game, of course we're going to have something to say about it. That's BS."
Lillard also took his complaints to Twitter and when one Twitter user noted he can expect a fine from the NBA – which bars public criticism of game officials – his answer was succinct.
"Plenty money," tweeted Lillard, whose salary is almost $30 million this season.
“It cost us the f---ing game, man. ... We in a playoff race, and they cost us the game. ”— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 8, 2020
Damian Lillard didn't hold back after refs missed a goaltend in the final seconds of Blazers/Jazz pic.twitter.com/b3hHwepGBA
Rudy Gobert on the last play on Lillard “I was trying to make a play, after watching the replay I realized it was a goaltend” pic.twitter.com/8zCsFeSJ8H— The Render (@TheRenderNBA2) February 8, 2020