Trae Young fined $20,000 for ‘inappropriate language’ toward refs

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Credit: Tony Gutierrez

Hawks guard Trae Young was fined $20,000, the NBA announced Thursday, for directing “inappropriate language” toward a game official following the loss in Dallas on Wednesday night.

The game ended in controversy after Young thought he was fouled by Willie Cauley-Stein, as Young fell backward after trying to set a screen. No foul was called, which blew up the Hawks’ final play of the game, their last chance to win it after letting a nine-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter.

When approaching a referee after the game, Young was heated and yelling, livid after the no-call. In an interview by pool reporter Tim McMahon of ESPN with crew chief Josh Tiven, Tiven said the contact between Young and Cauley-Stein was “incidental” and after reviewing the play again after the game, the referees still believed the no-call to be correct: “In the game the contact between Young and Cauley-Stein was deemed incidental, and therefore we didn’t have a whistle on the play. After reviewing the play postgame, we still feel that a no-call was the correct decision.”

On Thursday, the league reiterated that it was the correct call.

“Under the playing rules, Dallas’ Willie Cauley-Stein was entitled to a normal step on a screen from behind, which he took, and which led to incidental and legal contact between Cauley-Stein and Young,” the league said in a news release, and also echoed this in the L2M (Last 2 Minutes) report from Wednesday’s game.

After the loss, Young explained why he had gotten angry, as he and a referee had made eye contact after Young had fallen over.

“We made eye contact when I was on the ground, and I think that’s what really made me mad, is that he saw the whole thing, and we even looked at each other,” Young said. “That’s what really made me frustrated, but it’s just me being a competitor in the heat of the moment and trying to win, so it’s a costly play. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it.”

Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said referees had talked to him after the game and told him it should have been an illegal screen on Young, but Pierce thought the play was well-executed.

“He said, ‘I spared Trae, it should have been an illegal screen,’” Pierce said after the game. “It was a perfect screen. It was a perfect screen. Willie Cauley-Stein ran Trae over, and that’s a foul. That’s a foul. That’s why Trae’s on the floor, it blows up our play. It’s unfortunate. … I thought our guys really competed. Trae was fouled. He falls on the floor, he gets hit in the nose.

“He set a great screen. I give him credit. He set a great screen. We’re trying to execute, and he did.”