In the postgame locker room after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets on Thursday night, most of the players on the team didn’t want to talk about if they felt like officiating was behind James Harden getting 19 free-throws in the contest — more than LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart combined.
Josh Hart declined to talk about his fouls on James Harden so as to protect his bank account.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) December 14, 2018
Asked several people in the Lakers locker room about if they were making a point when players were defending Harden and CP3 with their hands behind their back. Kyle Kuzma : "I wouldn't say making a point, but to defend them, you just can't touch em. Just trying not to touch em."— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 14, 2018
That’s a smart move that — as Hart noted — will likely save the young guys some money, but it also probably isn’t particularly cathartic. It seemed like Kuzma, Hart and the rest of the Lakers were still going to let things go despite that lack of catharsis, though. Or at least they were until the Twitter account for NBA referees sent the following tweets:
.@RealChrisWebber is incorrect here as well. This is a correctly called foul, as the defender makes contact with his shoulder as he is moving illegally into the offensive player's space. These are obvious fouls, and fans deserve accurate analysis. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/59VQSbTDbj— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) December 14, 2018
Those were too much for Kuzma, who had a cheeky response on Twitter that is likely just noncommittal enough to help him avoid a fine:
Can we get fined if we tweet back at this account? https://t.co/dtJlwQTfXZ— kuz (@kylekuzma) December 14, 2018
That would seem to imply that Kuzma... disagrees... with the analysis there, but before anyone worries about that qualifying for a fine, it’s worth noting that Kuzma isn’t criticizing the officials, or even the tweet itself. He’s simply asking a question. Could he tweet at the account? Would tweeting at the account, in and of itself, necessarily be a fine? The man is just asking the important questions.
It seems like a safe bet that this specific tweet isn’t worthy of a fine, but we’ll have to wait to hear back from the league to be sure. We’ll update this post if we (or Kuzma, in the form of a fine) get an answer.
Update: APPARENTLY THE REFS DIDN’T LIKE THIS.
Kyle Kuzma got a warning from the NBA about tweeting negatively at the @OfficialNBARefs twitter account. No fine yet but he has been warned.— E. García Gundersen (@Erik_Gundersen) December 18, 2018
All stats per NBA.com and Basketball-Reference.com. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen, or listen to him talk about the fouling epidemic on the latest episode of “The 30” on the Silver Screen and Roll podcast network below.