SHANGHAI — Canada's men's basketball coach Nick Nurse has plenty of sympathy for Dainius Adomaitis.
The Lithuanian coach was livid after a botched call late in his team's 78-75 loss to France that prevented the Lithuanians from advancing to the quarterfinals at the FIBA World Cup.
"You don't need to be smart. You need to be honest," Adomaitis said in an emotional news conference after Saturday's game in Nanjing, China. "Stop the game. Go to watch what's happened in the game."
Nurse called Adomaitis's angry post-game outburst "awesome."
"He's 100 per cent right, he's 100 per cent right. It's a travesty, most of it is," Nurse said about FIBA officiating. "We've had the same ref three games in a row (Martin Horozov of Bulgaria). There's 84 (expletive) countries that they draw from for referees, and we've had the same ref three (expletive) games in a row.
"The Lithuanian coach makes a lot of valid points."
FIBA suspended the officials who worked the game for the remainder of the World Cup, while upholding the final score of the protested game.
Lithuania was down by two with 30 seconds remaining when former Raptors forward Jonas Valanciunas was fouled. He made the first free throw, and his second was rattling around the rim when France's Rudy Gobert attempted to knock the ball away. Gobert clearly made contact with the rim before hitting the ball, and FIBA ultimately agreed that a violation should have been called and a game-tying point awarded.
The officiating crew at the game did not utilize video review, and France went on to win.
FIBA did not say why the crew did not review the play.
"The correct decision should have been to call a basket interference and one point awarded for Lithuania," FIBA said in a statement.
Had Lithuania (2-2) won the game, it would have had a chance Monday to reach the quarterfinals depending on the outcome of its game against the Dominican Republic and France's matchup with Australia.
Adomaitis said his players deserved better.
"These guys, they're spending all summer, two months without families," Adomaitis said. "They receive zero dollars. Zero. Biggest respect for them. But somebody doesn't respect this game. This is an (expletive) joke."
Nurse was frustrated with referees after Canada ran into foul trouble early in the team's first two World Cup games — losses to Australia and Lithuania. The coach earned a technical foul against Australia for arguing with an official.
"It's inexplainable to me that both those games started off the way they did. They might as well have just five (fouls) in the book before we took the floor," Nurse said earlier in the week. "It's inexplainable. I probably shouldn't comment on it. I can't even find a reason why that would be."
Nurse is coaching at the FIBA level for the first time since he was an assistant with the UK team at the 2012 London Olympics.
"I forgot how much fun it was dealing with that," he said with sarcasm.
NBA referees certainly aren't infallible.
"No, but at least the NBA has a process of how you can at least talk to someone about it," Nurse said. "These guys just disappear into cyberspace and whatever happens doesn't matter."
— With files from The Associated Press.