Shaquille O'Neal fined for criticising officials

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The Independent Online

Shaquille O'Neal, the NBA's second-leading scorer and rebounder, was fined $10,000 on Monday for derogatory comments about the officiating following the Los Angeles Lakers' 95-88 victory at Atlanta last Thursday.

Shaquille O'Neal, the NBA's second-leading scorer and rebounder, was fined $10,000 on Monday for derogatory comments about the officiating following the Los Angeles Lakers' 95-88 victory at Atlanta last Thursday.

O'Neal was limited to nine points and 13 rebounds in 28 minutes and committed six turnovers before fouling out with 5:54 remaining. Guarded by Dikembe Mutombo, he made only 4-of-15 field goal attempts.

Afterward, O'Neal was asked about the officiating and at first said, "I'd rather save my money - it's Christmas time."

Then, he let loose.

"But three refs out there: I had six fouls, one guy (Monte McCutchen) called five fouls. That should tell you something about these ... idiots they've got calling the game. They stink."

When asked about a possible fine, O'Neal indicated he didn't care.

The Lakers won despite O'Neal's difficulties, and entered Monday night's game in Boston having won six straight games to raise their record to 21-5 - best in the NBA.

O'Neal was averaging 26.6 points and 14.2 rebounds, and his .570 field goal percentage ranked third in the league.

The Lakers would not comment on O'Neal's latest transgression. Last month, he was ejected from a game in Portland after picking up two technical fouls early in the fourth quarter, and thrown out of a contest at Houston five days later following a fight with Charles Barkley. That incident resulted in a fine and one-game suspension for both players.

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