(SAN ANTONIO) — Memphis Grizzlies head coach expressed his frustration with the officiating in the team’s 96-82 Game 2 first-round playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Fizdale says the referees were making calls in favor of San Antonio, calling 22 total fouls against Memphis, compared to 13 for the Spurs. He specifically referred to two of his players, Mike Conley and Zach Randolph:
“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. It was a very poorly officiated basketball game…. “Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws,” Fizdale said as he stared down at the box score from Monday’s game. “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.”
Spurs star Kawhi Leonard made 19-19 free throws on his way to scoring a game-high 37 points. He added 11 rebounds, becoming the first player since Dirk Nowitzki in 2011 to hit 19 or more free throws or more in the postseason.
Leonard also set a franchise record for the most free throws made without a miss, previously held by Tim Duncan.
Mike Conley seemed to agree with Fizdale in regards to the Spurs having an advantage with the referees:
“Yeah. You see two different teams here. The Spurs are champions. They’ve won many times. They’ve done a lot of great things. We haven’t earned that yet. We have to get to that mountaintop. And we understand that. I understand that. That’s why I’m not going to complain about it. I’m just going to keep my head down, keep focused, try to play through it the best I can and keep my teammates from letting it affect them mentally.”
The first-round series moves to Memphis as the Spurs hold a 2-0 lead. Game 3 tips off at 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night.
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