San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to his players during the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Monday, April 17, 2017, in San Antonio.
"It's unfornate I got a guy like Mike Conley who in his whole career has gotten zero technical fouls and just can not seem to get the proper respect from the officials that he deserves", Fizdale said.
The trio of Crawford, Spooner and Mott have officiated more than 400 playoff games over careers that span more than two decades for each, but Fizdale was irate with their performance. Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws, but somehow Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws.
"I'm not a numbers guy, but that doesn't seem to add up", Fizdale said. Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint. We don't get respect that we deserve because Mike Conley doesn't go insane, he has class and just plays the game but I'm not going to let them treat us that way.
Leonard attempted more free throws than Memphis had as a team, which infuriated Fizdale.
What irked Fizdale most was the disparity in fouls called during the game. As a team, the Spurs connected on 31 of 32 from the free throw line.
It was an incredible moment and one that, predictably, earned him a hefty fine from the league.
Leonard opened the game by making his first three shots and four free throws as the Spurs built a 13-point lead, the same deficit they faced in the opening period Saturday. Explain it to me. 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. That's unacceptable, that's unprofessional.
After getting free throwed nearly into submission, Grizzlies battle back from 26 down to cut Spurs lead to 4 with time running out.
The All-Star followed his 32-point night in Game 1 - a 111-82 Spurs rout - with 37 points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday night. Leonard made sure of that.