The Atlanta Hawks were already in a difficult position, trying to stave off playoff elimination on the road Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.
But their situation worsened Monday when the NBA suspended star guard Dejounte Murray, who is averaging 25.3 points per game in the series, for Game 5 after he bumped and verbally abused an official at the end of Game 4.
Hawks head coach Quin Snyder told reporters he saw the clip that circulated around social media of Murray’s heated interaction with an official following a 129-121 loss at State Farm Arena and that he spoke to Murray about his actions after the league handed down the one-game suspension.
“Dejounte recognizes his part in the situation and that it’s just not something you can do,” Snyder told reporters, per video from CLNS Media. “You would have to ask him directly as far as what had transpired previously. I think there was frustration over the course of the game that built up and he didn’t handle it the way that he needs to. He knows that. We talked about it.”
Snyder was asked if he felt Murray’s suspension was justified, but the coach didn’t want to broach the topic.
“I don’t have a context or a frame of reference relative to those type of decisions,” Snyder said. “That’s why the league’s in the position they’re in to make those evaluations.”
Snyder already shifted his focus to the massive challenge ahead for the Hawks without Murray, but wouldn’t tip his hand on who he would go within the starting lineup in place of Murray.
“Anytime players get suspended particularly in the postseason, you have to move forward, accept it and figure it out how to manage it and still be competitive and try to win,” Snyder said.
The Celtics look to close out the Murray-less Hawks in Game 5 on Tuesday. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.