SALT LAKE CITY — For the first time this season, Nick Young wasn’t smiling.
After fouling out in only the second time of his six-year NBA career in the Lakers’ 105-103 loss Friday to the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena, Young shared he felt “disrespected” on what led him toward missing the final 5:45 of the game.
“I don’t feel we get the proper respect that everybody else gets when it comes to how things turn out there on the court,” Young said. “I play a major role. I’m not going to call no names and I’m not going to say it was the ref’s fault. But just watch the film and see what was going on out there.”
Young also suggested the absences to the Lakers’ stars in Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Pau Gasol (upper respiratory infection), Steve Nash (nerve issues in back) and Steve Blake (hyperextended right elbow) contributed toward how the officials called the game. The Lakers actually had more foul shots (16-of-23) than the Jazz (16-of-20). But that wasn’t the case in the fourth quarter where Utah went 7-of-10 from the free throw line, while the Lakers went 5 of 6.
“Without Kobe out there, we’re just out there,” Young said. “I don’t get the same respect as everybody else and my teammates feel the same. We’re all frustrated. At the end of the day, nobody wants to get fined or talk trash about what happened out there. We’re taking it. That’s the tough part.”
Young showed that frustration when he was whistled for his sixth foul on Utah guard Marvin Williams with 5:45 remaining. Young winced. He then stormed off the court. Minutes later, Young sat at the end of the bench with a solemn expression on his face.
After posting a team-leading 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting, there was nothing he could to salvage the game.
“It’s hard. I want to be out there with my teammates badly,” Young said. “In certain situations, I feel they need me out there. But Im proud of the guys. They stayed with it and fought through the end. That’s all you can ask for.”
Well, not exactly.
Young said he told an unnamed official earlier in the game with his frustrations with how the game was called. He had only fouled one other time in his six-year NBA career on March 8, 2008 in what marked his rookie season with the Washington Wizards.
Yet with the Lakers (13-17) losing their fourth consecutive game in a roster lacking household names, Young believes the officiating disadvantage will continue. Unless, of course, the Lakers start winning. They have a four-game homestand against sub. 500 teams against the Philadelphia 76ers (Sunday), Milwaukee Bucks (Tuesday), Utah Jazz (Jan. 3) and Denver Nuggets (Jan. 5).
“We can’t lose,” Young said. “We got to take care of home court. This game has got to hurt. This game has got to make you want to go out there and kill somebody the next game.”
But with Young making the veteran’s minimum worth just over $1 million, he tried displaying a balancing act in both voicing his frustration about how the game was called without drawing an NBA-imposed fine.
“I don’t want to lose no money,” Young said. “I’d seen [Memphis' Zach Randolph] get fined $25,000, so I need my little checks coming in.”
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