Shaq lashes out at refs, Jackson after loss


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Shaquille O’Neal didn’t mince words about the five personal fouls he got in Miami’s loss to the New Jersey Nets, taking aim at referees and NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson.

“That was the most ridiculous game I’ve ever been part of,” he said Sunday after the 90-78 loss. “When you got a guy like Stu Jackson at the top, it shows why referees are the way they are. It starts at the top.

“There was a lot of flopping today and they just fell for it. They make these rules up and they don’t follow them. We all know there’s a double standard. I just wish they wouldn’t make it so obvious.”

O’Neal picked up two offensive fouls in the first half, one for elbowing New Jersey’s Jason Collins in the jaw in the lane. He picked up three more fouls in the third quarter when the Nets outscored Miami 32-19, including two fouls in a span of 11 seconds.

Heat coach Pat Riley added his voice to the complaints.

“There is a huge double standard here,” he said. “They got the double forearm on him, they say it’s a hand. Shaq’s a pretty strong guy, but Collins does a good job on him. He turns in, it’s a foul on him. They’re pushing and shoving at him all the time.”

He said if a team complains too much about it, the league issues a fine.

“We’re caught between a rock and a hard place,” Riley said.

The NBA on Monday said it was reviewing the comments.

O’Neal is tied for the league lead in personal fouls this season with Atlanta’s Al Harrington at four per game.

AP-ES-04-03-06 1557EDT