NEW YORK - Spurs star Tim Duncan said he hopes he and his teammates “get a fair shake” from officials in the wake of NBA referee Joey Crawford’s suspension.
NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Crawford, who has worked more postseason games than any active ref, indefinitely on Tuesday for his conduct toward Duncan during a game Sunday. His suspension will last at least through the NBA finals.
“I didn’t do anything to invoke the reaction that he gave to me and what he did, so I had nothing to do with that,” Duncan said after practice Wednesday. “So hopefully they take that into consideration and we get a fair shake from everybody.”
Duncan’s comments Wednesday were his first since Crawford’s suspension.
Crawford ejected Duncan from San Antonio’s loss to Dallas on Sunday after calling a second technical foul on the Spurs star while he was laughing on the bench.
“He looked at me and said, ’Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight?”’ Duncan said after the incident. “If he wants to fight, we can fight. I don’t have any problem with him, but we can do it if he wants to. I have no reason why in the middle of a game he would yell at me, ’Do you want to fight?”’
Crawford was cited for “improper conduct” and “inappropriate comments made to Duncan during the game.” Stern said Crawford’s actions “failed to meet the standards of professionalism and game management we expect of NBA referees.”
“Especially in light of similar prior acts by this official, a significant suspension is warranted,” Stern said in a statement. “Although Joey is consistently rated as one of our top referees, he must be held accountable for his actions on the floor, and we will have further discussions with him following the season to be sure he understands his responsibilities.”
Duncan said Wednesday that his part of the incident was “absolutely minimal.”
The NBA fined Duncan $25,000 for verbal abuse of an official. Crawford said Duncan referred to him with an expletive.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Asked if he was surprised at the length of Crawford’s suspension, Duncan said he didn’t know what to expect, but “I didn’t know it was going to be that much.”
“They thought that’s what fit the crime,” he said.
Duncan repeatedly stressed that he had nothing to do with the NBA’s decision.
“The whole thing is an unfortunate situation,” he said. “I didn’t want to be a part of it in the first place.”