Grizzlies Coach David Fizdale Doesn’t Hold Back, Trashes NBA Refs After Loss to Spurs

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Long after the buzzer sounded on the Memphis Grizzlies' Game 2 loss to the San Antonio Spurs to drop to a two-game deficit in the teams' first-round series, first-year head coach David Fizdale was still coaching.

He did so by sticking up for his players while at the postgame podium after he believed his squad didn't receive a fair shake from the game's officials in the 96-82 defeat. Fizdale took a question about rotations and quickly diverted it into a rant about the refs by pointing out some lopsided numbers.

"Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws," Fizdale said. "But somehow, Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half, we shot 19 shots in the paint, and we had six free throws. They shot 11 times in the paint, and they had 23 free throws. I'm not a numbers guy, but that doesn't seem to add up. Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint. We had 15 free throws for the game. They shot 18 times in the paint and had 32 free throws. Kawhi shot more free throws than our whole team. Explain it to me."

I've never bought the arugment that one-sided foul numbers spell poor officiating—if one team fouls twice as much as the other, the numbers should reflect that—but the video evidence appears to support the rookie coach's qualm.

Here's Leonard getting cleanly stuffed by Grizzlies center Marc Gasol late in the game, only for the Spanish big to pick up a foul.

And here's Mike Conley drawing contact sans whistle, followed by Leonard losing his balance on similar contact at the other end to the sound of a foul call.

"We don't get the respect that these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn't go crazy. He has class, and he just plays the game," Fizdale continued. "But I'm not gonna let them treat us that way. I know Pop's got pedigree, and I'm a young rookie. But they're not gonna rook us. That's unacceptable. That was unprofessional. Our guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game. And they did not even give us a chance."

Fizdale noted the irony of Mike Conley, one of the league's most respectful, not receiving foul calls because he doesn't show refs up when he doesn't draw them.

"It's unfortunate that I've got a guy like [point guard] Mike Conley that in his whole career has got zero technical fouls and just cannot seem to get the proper respect from the officials that he deserves," Fizdale said after Memphis fell to a 2-0 deficit. "It was a very poorly officiated basketball game."

After delivering his two cents, Fizdale slammed his pen on the table in front of him, said "Take that for data!" and left the podium, much to the delight of meme lovers everywhere.

Here's video of the rant.