LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum said he knew exactly what he was doing when he publicly criticized game officials after the Lakers' 101-96 loss Wednesday to the Dallas Mavericks.
The comments elicited a $25,000 fine Friday from the NBA. After the Dallas game Bynum said, "It's hard to win when it's five against eight."
"I decided to say that before the interview because it was ridiculous," Bynum said. "I knew it was going to happen; whether it was fair is debatable. They tell us we can't say anything so I knew I was going to get fined."
Bynum, who never before had been fined, said his frustrations with the officials have been ongoing all season and decided that it would be worth the fine to bring it out into the open.
"I hope not," Bynum said when asked if he thought officials might be harder on him now because of his public criticism of them. "If they did, it would just prove a point."
Bynum was called twice for traveling against Dallas and the Mavericks shot 26 free throws to the Lakers' 16.
"I have sympathy for his statement, I believe he was trying to speak the truth, but you can't go over that line," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We know that referees are sacred cows in this league and the NBA is going to punish us, so he learned a lesson that will be valuable to him."
It is usually Jackson who intentionally criticizes officials publicly to get them to think more about their calls although he says he believes Bynum was premature in his comments.
"I wait for an appropriate time when it matters," Jackson said. "When it makes a difference in the playoffs and you might be able to twist somebody's arm into reacting or recognizing something."
Arash Markazi is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.