It’s common practice in the NBA: Complain about the officiating all you want during the game but don’t bring the refs into it after that.
David Fizdale apparently missed that memo.
The Memphis Grizzlies coach had a bone to pick Monday night after his club lost 96-82 to the San Antonio Spurs to fall into a 2-0 hole in their first-round NBA playoff series. And pick it he did, blasting the referees in one of the best public rants we’ve seen in quite some time.
“That was a very poorly officiated basketball game,” Fizdale began. But the first-year head coach was only getting started.
“I’m not gonna let them treat us that way,” Fizdale said near the end of his rant. “I know (Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has) got pedigree and I’m a young rookie, but they’re not gonna rook us. That’s unacceptable. That’s unprofessional. My guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game. And they did not even give us a chance.”
Fizdale paused for dramatic effect before slamming the table and adding, “Take THAT for data!”
So, did Fizdale have a gripe with the zebras? On paper, yes: The Grizzlies attempted just 15 free throws all night, while Kawhi Leonard had 19 attempts on his own (making all 19) and the Spurs shot 32 total free throws.
Of course, it’s also possible Memphis just hasn’t been able to create enough offense against one of the NBA’s elite defensive units. What we do know is that Fizdale can expect a heavy fine from the NBA, and his Grizzlies will need to turn things around fast to avoid getting swept away by San Antonio.
Thumbnail photo via Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports Images