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David Fizdale Blasts Referees, Says Team Deserved A Chance

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David FIzdale was not happy with the officiating from last night’s 96-82 loss in Game 2 of the first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs.

“It’s unfortunate that I’ve got a guy like 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 to reporters following Memphis’ fell to a 2-0 series deficit. “It was a very poorly officiated basketball game.”

The Grizzlies made an incredible run to overcome a 19 point halftime deficit, but it was not enough. The reason why is because of free-throw shooting. The Spurs shot 31-of-32 from the line, led by Kawhi Leonard’s 19-of-19 performance from the line.

Leonard made and attempted more free throws than the entire Grizzlies team, who shot 13-of-15.

Fizdale was furious at not only the officiating but the fact that his guys couldn’t get any calls whatsoever.

“Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws,” Fizdale said. “But somehow, Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. The 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.”

The lack of respect towards his team and star point guard Mike Conley was easily noticeable. Fizdale claims that since Conley isn’t flashy and stuffs the stat sheet, he is not being respected on the court. 

“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 said. “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.”

Yikes! Fizdale does have a point though. Conley is coming off a five-year, $153 million deal and many are expecting him to live up to the contract. He is averaging a career-high 20 points, six assists and shooting 46 percent from the line.

“I don’t know what the numbers were exactly, but Kawhi shot a lot of free throws,” Conley said to reporters. “He does that a lot. I don’t know how many we shot. But the name of the game tonight is we’ve got to keep them off the line.”

Conley, however, is not sure if he is getting respect on the court.

“As far as getting to the free throw line? No, but they respect me as a person, I feel like. But when it comes to the game, I’m not sure.”

The Spurs are one of the most historic franchises in NBA history, and Conley and FIzdale both agreed that that is a major factor. 

“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.”

About Mohamed Bah

Mohamed Bah is a senior writer/editor at NBALEAD.

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