NEW ORLEANS — The Nets rank fourth in the NBA with 24.9 free-throw attempts per game because they place an emphasis on driving to the rim to score, get fouled or make a pass out to open shooters at the three-point line. But their reputation didn’t precede them with the referees in San Antonio on Tuesday night who awarded 24 foul shots to the Spurs compared to nine for the Nets, prompting coach Kenny Atkinson to protest and draw a technical foul.
Following the game, Atkinson apologized for focusing too closely on how the game was officiated. But veteran DeMarre Carroll said there was no need for an apology because the players understood he was protecting them.
“I don’t think I did a great job, quite honestly,” Atkinson said. “I got a little concerned with [imbalance of foul calls]. That’s not where my attention should be. But I thought our guys did a good job. This is what it is, and we’ve got to learn to play through physicality a little better. As we improve, we’ll get more and more respect.”
Knowing he incurred a fine from the NBA of $2,500 for the technical, Atkinson also issued an apology to his wife, Laura. “Wait until my wife finds out I got a technical,” Atkinson said. “She’s not going to be happy.”
Shooting guard Milton Doyle, who recently signed a two-way contract with the Nets after starring for the G League Nets, got his first 1:40 of NBA action at the end of the Spurs loss, missing one shot but scoring his first two points from the foul line.
“It was unreal,” Doyle said. “It was a great feeling just stepping on the court.
“I wasn’t surprised, but it was a great feeling for me. I just continued to pay attention to the game and waited on my moment.”
The Nets unveiled their “City Edition” uniform on Monday that they will first wear against the Sixers on Jan. 31. It’s a subtle design inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge with the “Brooklyn Nets” logo in an arch that mimics the bridge and supporting bridge cables woven into the jersey and shorts.