The Memphis Grizzlies have their coach’s back.
Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said that the team will pay the $30,000 fine levied upon head coach David Fizdale for his comments, an epic rant that went viral, criticizing the officials after Game 2.
Memphis lost to the San Antonio Spurs 96-82.
Fizdale pulled no punches when criticizing the officials saying that refs Danny Crawford, Rodney Mott and Bill Spooner “unprofessional” and “unacceptable”.
On Wednesday Fizdale admitted that he knew a fine was coming but that it didn’t matter — it was time to stand up — or go home.
“Players in general and coaches pull this card a lot,” Fizdale said. “I’m not sitting here acting like I’m any more original than any other coach. But you’re fighting for your team and you’re fighting for your life in the playoffs, and you just don’t have room to let things go into the next year.
“The series can be over, so you’re always going to fight for your guys.”
Fizdale’s lines of “Take that for data” and “They’re not going to rook us” are already on t-shirts circulating the Grizzlies fan community.
“It’s been fantastic,” Fizdale said of the fan support.
“I have felt that everywhere I’ve went in the city. The text messages. Obviously, my wife is big into social media, so I get a lot of the social media craziness. It’s been some funny stuff. I got to be honest with you. I wasn’t expecting all that.”
Miami Heat president Pat Riley, who worked with Fizdale when Fizdale served as a longtime assistant to head coach Erik Spoelstra, applauded Fizdale’s rant.
“I was proud of what Dave Fizdale did, being a former coach here,” Riley said Wednesday at his end-of-season address. “I don’t care what anybody thinks. I think he went in and fought for his players, fought for his city. I think everything he had to say had truth to it, real truth to it. And he took a hit for it. … I’m glad he’s got some Heat DNA in him from that standpoint.'”
Fizdale’s players are supporting him as well.
“Everything he said was true,” Memphis forward Zach Randolph said. “He stuck up for us, and that’s the penalty we got to pay. But it’s the truth.”
“I think Coach just finally just had enough, kind of got to a boiling point,” Conley said.
Fizdale’s argument may have some validation as the stats showed just how lopsided the officiating had been.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard attempted more free throws than the entire Grizzlies team.
“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 series deficit. “It was a very poorly officiated basketball game.”
“Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws,” Fizdale said after Game 2.
“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.”