NBA fines Pelicans VP David Griffin $50K after he blamed officials for Zion Williamson's broken finger

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The NBA fined New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin $50,000 after he blamed officials for Zion Williamson's broken finger. 

The league announced the fine Sunday afternoon “for public criticism of the officiating and comments detrimental to the NBA," referencing remarks Griffin made on Friday. He criticized NBA officiating after the Pelicans announced that Williamson was out indefinitely with a broken ring finger on his left hand. 

The Pelicans lost their All-Star forward while 1.5 games outside of the Western Conference play-in tournament with six games remaining in their season. 

Griffin: 'Open season on Zion'

"We told the NBA through every means available to us, through sending in film, through speaking to everybody in the officials department and everybody in basketball operations, that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured," Griffin told reporters. 

"And quite frankly, he's injured because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint. He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point where other players have said to him, ‘I’m going to keep doing this to you’ because they don’t call it.'"

Williamson appeared to suffer the injury against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday while battling for a rebound.

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Griffin: Zion's injury suffered 'over a period of time'

Griffin declined to specify when Williamson suffered the fracture and argued that the injury was the result of cumulative contact over the course of the season.

"I believe he probably suffered the injury over a period of time," Griffin said. "It's a striking injury. It's a blunt-force injury. He was being beaten on the hand over and over and over again. For me to tell you one time, I don't think I can do that. I don't think he knows one time."

El pivot de los Pelicans de Nueva Orleans Zion Williamson camina con el vicepresidente de operaciones del equipo David Griffin después de que anunciaron el 15 de enero del 2020 que debutará el 22 de enero cuando reciban a los Spurs.. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
David Griffin believes that lax officiating resulted in Zion Williamson's injury. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Williamson averages 27 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 61.1% from the field. He scores the vast majority of his points on contested buckets in the paint. He made his first All-Star team this season after missing most of his rookie year with a meniscus injury. 

The Pelicans lost to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday and entered Sunday two game behind the San Antonio Spurs for 10th place in the Western Conference and final spot in the postseason play-in tournament. 

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