The Sacramento Kings played the two-time defending NBA champions to the final buzzer Thursday night, only to come up two points short in a 125-123 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.
However, the down-to-the-wire tussle was overshadowed by a heated exchange between Kings coach Dave Joerger and guard Buddy Hield.
After Hield drained a 32-foot 3-pointer to cut Golden State’s lead to three with 19 seconds to play, Joerger expressed his displeasure with Hield during a subsequent dead-ball situation, apparently over Hield’s shot selection, which was not the play Joerger had drawn up, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee.
“Why don’t you just coach the f—ing team?” Joerger said to Hield as he made his way to the sideline during the dead-ball situation.
The exchange between Hield and Joerger lasted about 40 seconds, with Golden State’s Kevin Durant standing nearby, listening, and clips of the exchange went viral.
“What’s wrong with your coach?” Durant asked Hield. “You made a great shot.”
The heated words appeared to have a direct impact on the game’s final possession. With the Kings down two with six seconds remaining, Hield had an open look for the same shot he made 13 seconds earlier.
However, Hield chose not to take that shot — the same one that incensed Joerger — instead opting to pump fake, drive into the pain and taking a turnaround, fadeaway jumper that wasn’t close as time expired.
Joerger was asked after the game if be believed Hield should have attempted the long 3-pointer he passed on.
“Yeah, I thought he had a good look there at the top of the key,” Joerger said.
Hield told reporters he regretted not taking the shot from deep.
“I should have pulled that (expletive). I should have pulled it. No excuse,” Hield said. “This one stings a lot, but to come back like that and to have an opportunity to win the game .
“I’ve got to do a better job, block everything out and just (shoot) it.”
The way the game ended caught the attention of Damian Lillard. The Portland Trail Blazers’ All-Star guard expressed his thoughts on Twitter.
Maybe if his coach didn’t yell at him for MAKING the same shot he would have shot the mf… https://t.co/uqtT7L8yMu
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) February 22, 2019
“Maybe if his coach didn’t yell at him for MAKING the same shot he would have shot the mf,” Lillard tweeted.