Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray reacts to suspension, postgame altercation

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks won’t have Dejounte Murray for a must-win Game 5 in Boston against the Celtics and the 2022 All-Star is not shying away from the incident that led up to it.

“I’m a grown man,” Murray told reporters during the Hawks’ shootaround via the Bally Sports: Hawks Twitter feed on April 25. I hold my own. I take full responsibility for not being able to play for my teammates, the fans, and the organization as a whole.”

Murray was suspended for one game without pay after making contact with official Gediminas Petraitas after Game 4 with the decision coming down less than 24 hours after the incident making Murray the second player to receive a suspension this postseason joining Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, albeit for different reasons.

The Hawks star remained adamant that he felt that things are handled unfairly.

“Whatever happened, happened,” Murray said. “I just feel like we all should be held accountable. From players, coaches, even the referees. It shouldn’t be one-sided. It should all be fair. It all should be, like I said, we all should be held accountable. It’s not just the players out there. You got coaches coaching. You got the referees refereeing the game…There’s a whole lot that led up to that. And I think a lot of players can relate to those frustrations.”

Murray has averaged 25.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.3 steals on .456/.391/1.000 shooting splits in the postseason.

He also pointed out that he typically has a good mutual working relationship with the officials.

“But also, me, it’s a bit different because one thing, before games like I stated, all the refs come to me and say hello and just how much respect they have for me just by knowing their names and coming to them asking politely what I can do or my teammates can do to be better. But at the end of the day, I’m suspended. It’s in the past, and I’m not going to sit there and just worry about it. It is what it is.

“At the end of the day I feel like I don’t think I should have been suspended,” Murray said matter-of-factly. “But like I said it’s out of my control.”

The NBA rules didn’t leave much wiggle room after contact was made.

DeJounte Murray sends message to Atlanta Hawks teammates

“To my teammates, it’s just the same message that it’s been whether I’m playing or not playing,” Murray said. “Just continue to do what they do, playing the right way, listen to Coach. He has great plans. We gotta just go out and execute them on offense and defense. Stay together – I think that’s been the word that we’ve been preaching all year is just consistency, and staying together as a whole. So that’s pretty much it.”

Hawks head coach Quin Snyder addressed the issue on Monday, saying that he had spoken with Murray both before and after the incident. Quin also highlighted the need for a group effort to overcome Murray’s absence and stave off elimination.

They will, however, be able to whatever amount of solace they can in knowing that Murray is still trying to be there for them in spirit.

“I was coming to support regardless,” Murray said. “That’s the type of person I am. I don’t hide behind nobody, I don’t hide behind nothing. Whether things are going good or things are going bad, I’m going to always be who I am. And that was something that was not even a question, me traveling with the team. Making sure they know that I’m here even though I won’t be able to be on the bench to support them. But I’ll still be supporting.”

The Hawks went 3-5 without Murray during the regular season despite being better in some advanced metrics when he has been off the floor. That record underscores the impact that the numbers can sometimes belie, as is the case for Murray.

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Atlanta is also just 1-6 versus Boston this season and has not won in Boston since 2021. Teams down 3-1 have gone on to win just 13 times in 271 tries.