In three seasons running the Nets, general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have worked to build a culture emphasizing teamwork, collaboration and concern. So it wasn’t surprising that Marks went to the mat for his team after Game 4 when he challenged the officiating crew in their dressing room for not protecting center Jarrett Allen after he was decked for the second time in the series by 76ers center Joel Embiid. Marks drew a $25,000 fine and was suspended for Game 5 Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Center.
“I’ve never been around a guy that cares more about his players, his staff, our families,” Atkinson said Monday after practice. “It’s manifested in his support of us. Doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m behind him 100 percent. I know ownership is. I know the players are behind him 100 percent, too.”
Minority owner Joseph Tsai was fined $35,000 by the league on Monday for tweeting a statement of support for Marks that read: “My partners and I have spoken and the entire Nets ownership group support our GM Sean Marks for protesting the wrong calls and missed calls. NBA rules are rules and we respect that, but our players and fans expect things to be fair.”
Speaking of Tsai’s message, Atkinson said, “I think that makes us all feel supported and proud to be part of the organization.”
On Sunday, the NBA’s “Last Two-Minute Report” backed up Atkinson’s contention that the 76ers’ Tobias Harris fouled Allen with 4.8 seconds left as he rolled to the basket to receive a pass.
Asked if that offered consolation for the non-call, Atkinson said, “No consolation, and I want to make it crystal-clear that is not the reason we lost. The Nets lost because we weren’t good enough. We didn’t make the plays, we didn’t make the shots, we didn’t execute . . . Yeah, there was a mistake made, but we made 15 of them. That loss is on the Nets, not the referees.”