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There wasn’t much free-throw disparity in the game, as the Pelicans shot 12 compared to Houston’s 18. However, it was a foul call on New Orleans point guard Jrue Holiday during a James Harden three-point attempt in the fourth quarter that Gentry was particularly upset with after the loss.
“All we want is an equal opportunity to win the game,” Gentry said, per Stefano Fusaro of ESPN.com. “Not have a situation where we are guessing on the biggest play of the game, where they call a three-point foul from the corner. All of you take a look at the play, and if you think that’s a foul, if anybody out here thinks it’s a foul, then you tell me, and I’ll shut up, and I won’t say one more thing. You take a look at the play and tell me what you think when a guy comes up and winks and says, I got him.”
That it was Harden who drew the foul is notable because Gentry also pointed out his superstar, Anthony Davis, doesn’t draw the same type of whistles the other stars do across the league. Harden attempted eight free throws despite shooting 13 shots from three-point range, while Davis had a mere four.
“What happens to us is that AD [Anthony Davis] never gets a call, he never gets a call,” Gentry said, per Fusaro. “We talk about them holding him, we talk about them grabbing him on rolls, and we talk about them coming under him on post-ups. He never gets a call. Not one. You know why? Because he doesn’t b—h and complain about it. He just keeps playing the game.”
Houston has played a central role in drawing ire from opposing coaches in recent games.
On Friday, David Aldridge of NBA.com reported Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was fined $15,000 for criticizing the officials after the Rockets attempted 23 free throws to his team’s eight in Houston’s 101-96 win Thursday.
As for Gentry and the Pelicans, they are likely feeling the pressure of the playoff race and dropped an opportunity to pick up a win against a fellow Western Conference contender at home, surely breeding frustration.
New Orleans currently sits in the No. 8 spot in the West and is just 1.5 games ahead of the Clippers. It will be put to the test again Sunday when it hosts the 47-22 Boston Celtics with a chance to make up some ground in the postseason race.