ATLANTA (AP) — Hawks guard Dejounte Murray has been suspended for Game 5 of the playoff series against the Boston Celtics with Atlanta facing the end of its season.
The NBA announced Monday that Murray will have to sit out one game without pay for making inappropriate contact with an official, as well as verbal abuse.
The incident occurred after the Hawks’ 129-121 loss in Game 4, which pushed Boston to a 3-1 lead in the series. The suspension was handed out by Joe Dumars, the league’s head of basketball operations and chief disciplinarian.
After the horn sounded to end the game, Murray was captured on video bumping official Gediminas Petraitis with his chest while walking off the court. The player then turned to yell something at the referee before he was pulled away and directed toward the locker room.
“I think Dejounte recognizes his part in the situations,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said in a hastily called virtual availability after the team arrived in Boston. “That’s just something you can’t do.”
The Celtics can advance to the second round with a victory at home Tuesday night.
Murray scored 23 points in Game 4, but it was his worst outing of the series. The Hawks were outscored by 16 points while he was on the court.
“I think there was frustration over the course of the game that built up,” Snyder said. “He didn’t handle it the way he needs to. He knows that. We talked about it.”
Murray is averaging 25.3 points in the series, leaving a huge hole for the Hawks to fill as they try to extend their season on the road. He also can run the point along with Trae Young and is one of the team’s best perimeter defenders.
Snyder said he’s not sure who will start in Murray’s place, though Bogdan Bogdonavic would seem the logical choice. The coach stressed that no one player can match Murray’s production; it must be a team effort.
“He contributes in a lot of ways — defensive matchups, creating shots for other people, being able to score both throughout the game and in timely situations,” Snyder said.
He acknowledged that a difficult task will now be much tougher, but Snyder doesn’t want his team fretting over the loss of one of its best players.
“We’re worried about the things we can control,” Snyder said. “Anytime a player gets suspended, particularly in the postseason, you have to move forward and accept it. Figure out how to manage it and still be competitive and try to win.”
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