UPDATE: Friday, Dec. 27, at 2:45 p.m. ET by Zach Buckley
Apparently, Randolph needs to choose a better audience for his criticisms. The NBA hit Z-Bo's wallet hard for his public battering of the league's officials, per B/R's Howard Beck:
NBA has fined Zach Randolph $25,000 for criticizing the officiating after last night's loss to Houston.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) December 27, 2013
Even if the big man had reason to be upset, this hefty fine is a stern reminder of the importance of time and place.
---End of Update---
After the loss, the 32-year-old delivered a lengthy, anti-ref diatribe to the media. Here is the audio clip:
Does he have a point?
The Rockets shot twice as many free throws as Memphis (40-20). Shockingly, none of Houston's free throws came from the man who came into the game leading the NBA in free-throw attempts: Dwight Howard. It was his first game without a free throw since Dec. 11, 2006, per Basketball Reference.
When Randolph said, "The man's shooting free throws every time," he was probably referring to Houston guard James Harden, who went 22-of-25 from the line.
Harden scored 27 points despite shooting just 2-of-9 from the field. It was a historic feat, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Via @eliassports James Harden's 27 points are the most in a game in NBA history by a player who made 2 or fewer field goals.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 27, 2013
Randolph isn't the first player to criticize the refs for giving Harden too many free throws. Dirk Nowitzki was issued a technical foul in a Nov. 20 game against Houston for complaining to the refs about a Harden foul call.
Does Randolph have a point in criticizing the officiating?
It's easy to understand why opponents might have trouble accepting Houston's propensity for getting to the charity stripe. The Rockets lead the league in free-throw attempts at 31.1 per game. With Harden and Howard, they often obliterate their opponents in free-throw margin.
If the NBA decides to fine Randolph for his outburst, it won't be the first time the forward has cut a check to the league office. The Association fined Randolph $25,000 in November 2012 for confronting Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins in a corridor near the locker rooms after a game between the Thunder and Grizzlies.
At 12-16 in the stacked Western Conference, every game counts, and it's not surprising that Randolph was angry after his team let a big lead slip away against an upper-echelon conference foe.