AS expected, Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale got a huge fine for his rant against the officiating in their 96-82 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.
The NBA announced the $30,000 fine on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time), but what’s unexpected is that the Grizzlies players, led by Mike Conley, offered to pay the fee for their coach.
Conley texted Fizdale the morning after Monday’s loss to speak for his teammates in thanking their coach and standing up for them. And after Wednesday’s practice for a must-win Game 3 on Thursday, the soft-spoken guard spoke up about how their coach’s rant got them fired up to get out of a 0-2 series hole, enough to put up the amount to cover the fine.
“I just said thanks for standing up for us, he didn’t have to do anything. He took it head on and we thanked him for it,” he said.
“We don’t normally say anything about anything, so I think coach just finally had enough, kind of got to a boiling point,” added Conley. “What coach started here, he started something for our fans to believe in and root behind us for him."
“We told him right away you’re not gonna have to pay that, man. We’re gonna find a way to get that taken care of, our team putting money together, whatever we got to do.”
Conley’s teammate and Grizzlies vet Zach Randolph agreed with the gesture, and with his coach’s objections to the Game 2 officiating as well.
“Everything he said was true. He stuck up for us, and that’s the penalty we got to pay. But it’s the truth,” he said.
Fizdale went ballistic in calling the work of long-time refs Danny Crawford, Rodney Mott and Bill Spooner "unprofessional" and "unacceptable" before slamming his fist on a table and storming off in the post-game press conference.
The first-year Memphis coach rattled off the numbers, particularly pointing out that Kawhi Leonard took more free throws (19) than the Grizzlies (15) despite Memphis taking 17 more shots in the paint than San Antonio. His ‘Take that for data’ and ‘They’re not going to rook us’ remarks have now been printed on shirts for the game at Memphis on Thursday.