Anthony Edwards would tell anyone who would listen — scratch that, anyone within ear shot — exactly how he felt about the officiating when the Minnesota Timberwolves battled the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
On Wednesday, the NBA hit him with a $40,000 fine for his comments.
The T-Wolves guard was completely beside himself with the lack of calls, especially down the stretch, in Minnesota's 107-101 win. Edwards remained composed as the game went down to the wire, but the second the the buzzer went off, he had a story to tell.
"The refs was bad tonight. Yeah, they was terrible," Edwards told ESPN after the game. "We was playing 8-on-5.
"The cat got their tongue tonight, so it's all good. It's not fair, but it's all good."
When the Timberwolves' in-house broadcast team pulled Edwards aside for its postgame interview, he continued with the same messaging and accepted the inevitable consequence of calling out the referees.
"I'm going to take the fine, because the refs did not give us no calls tonight," he said.
In another video after the victory, Edwards was heard saying the referees were cheating.
Anthony Edwards postgame after the win against the Thunder:
"Cheatin' A** Refs" 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/xn9ESyM0aj
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) January 30, 2024
Even though Edwards put together a very productive night to help stave off Oklahoma City — he led Minnesota with 27 points — he was completely aghast that he only shot four free throws. And in his comments after the game, Edwards made it very clear that this wasn't an issue of comparison.
Some thought his frustration stemmed from Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who finished with 37 points, eight assist and seven rebounds, while shooting 16 free throws. In his own right, Edwards simply believed that there were several missed calls when he drove to the basket.
"Him getting to the line, he do that in his sleep," Edwards said. "Yeah, he's unstoppable. Nobody can guard him. He's good. He's super good. But yeah, the refs was bad tonight."
Ultimately, Edwards surmised that he's not one of the star players in the NBA who has the officials' respect at this point. He knows it's a process, and it's something that'll develop over time.
"I haven't earned [referees' respect] yet, so it's OK," Edwards said. "But I think tonight was bad from the refs. It was terrible. We didn't get no calls as a team. I got fouled multiple times, and I'm walking up to the ref telling him, 'Hey, can you watch this?' They just shaking their head. Yeah. And then soon somebody come down from their team and get bumped, it's a foul.
"So I just feel like it wasn't a fair game tonight from the jump. And so that's why I'm super happy we won the game."