Grizzlies coach David Fizdale gave us an early contender for most entertaining post-game press conference after the Grizzlies’ Game 2 loss to the Spurs, when he ripped into the officiating that saw the Spurs take 32 free throws compared to just 15 by Memphis. The epic rant concluded with Fizdale slamming his hand on the table while saying “take that for data,” and then storming off.
It was an incredible moment and one that, predictably, earned him a hefty fine from the league. On Wednesday, the NBA announced a $30,000 fine for Fizdale’s criticism of officials — which is always the surest way to get the league into your pockets.
However, that money will apparently find its way back to Fizdale by way of his players. Mike Conley and the rest of his Grizzlies teammates were thrilled to see Fizdale stick up for them in the post-game press conference and will reportedly all pitch in to pay him back for that $30,000.
Calling out the officiating and discrepancies in foul calls is a way to put that idea in the back of people’s minds, most importantly officials in future games, but it’s not just about earning a better balance of foul calls in the future. Players want to feel like their coach is doing everything possible to support them, and so if they feel like the officiating is unfair, the coach taking the hit for being the one to complain gives them the feeling like he’s doing his best to take pressure off of them.
We’ll see if the Grizzlies see fewer foul calls in Game 3 in Memphis on Thursday, when they look to avoid going down 3-0 to San Antonio.