The Hawks will be without Dejounte Murray for their elimination Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoff series against the Celtics.
The guard was suspended for one game without pay for making inappropriate contact with and verbally abusing a game official, it was announced Monday by Joe Dumars, the NBA’s Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Hawks’ 129-121 loss to the Celtics in Game 4 on Sunday night. Following the loss, video showed that Murray bumped official Gediminas Petraitis while it appeared he was complaining. Murray headed directly toward Petraitis as time expired and shouted in the official’s face as he bumped into him. After taking several steps after bumping Petraitis, Murray turned and pointed. Teammate Aaron Holiday immediately intervened and helped escort Murray off the floor with other team personnel.
Murray was not in the Hawks locker room when reporters entered following the game.
Hawks coach Quin Synder spoke to the media on Monday in advance of Tuesday’s Game 5 in Boston.
He told reporters that he saw the video that circulated of Murray’s interaction with the official on social media. He added that he and Murray spoke before and after the news of the suspension.
Murray traveled to Boston with the team ahead of Game 5 as they awaited the league’s decision. With the result now public, Murray will have to either travel back to Atlanta or remain at the hotel.
“I think Dejounte recognizes his part in the situation, and that that’s just not something you can do,” Snyder said. “You know, I think you’d have to ask him directly as far as what had transpired previously. I think there was frustration over the course of the game that built up, and he didn’t handle it the way that he needs to. And he knows that. We talked about it. But again, I think you will have to ask him more specifically, I don’t want to speak for with respect to that.”
Earlier in the game, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum pushed Petraitis after drawing a hard foul from Hawks center Clint Capela and guard Trae Young. The two contested a layup from Tatum and the Celtics forward fell to the ground. He immediately got up and pushed Petraitis out of his way when the official went to talk to him. No penalty against Tatum was announced by the NBA.
When asked if he thought that was fair, Snyder deferred to the NBA.
The Hawks trail the best-of-seven series 3-1. A Hawks victory Tuesday would force a Game 6 in Atlanta on Thursday.
The Hawks will miss Murray’s presence significantly. In the four playoff games, he has averaged 25.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals.
“I think being in Boston Garden, in the situation we’re in right now, I think we all know, is a challenge in and of itself,” Snyder said. “It’s just something that I think the entire group has to absorb. As you mentioned, Dejounte, not just in this series, but over the course of the year has been, a real important part of what our team does.”
During his availability ahead of Tuesday’s game, Snyder did not announce who would start in place of Murray. The Hawks do have options including elevating Bogdan Bogdanovic from the second unit and plugging in another player like AJ Griffin or Garrison Mathews.
“We’ve got to understand that contributions are going to have to come from a number of different players across across the board,” Snyder said. “I don’t think you can plug and play in a situation like this. So everybody’s got to do their part.”
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