“Take that for data,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said on NBA TV while walking out of the press conference room following his team’s second loss to the Spurs.
Fizdale had just finished a near two-minute rant about the lack of calls for the Grizzlies Monday night, which will almost assuredly result in a massive fine.
To Fizdale’s point, Spurs star Kawhi Leonard finished the game with 19 free throws which was more than the whole Grizzlies team who only had 15.
“My guys dug in that game and earned to be in that game but they did not even give us a chance,” Fizdale said.
While Fizdale did shine a light on the free throw discrepancy and the way the Spurs are treated in general by the officials, they might not be the biggest benefactors of his martyrdom.
The Rockets, if they get past the Thunder will meet the Spurs in the second round and with the NBA taking a closer look at how physical the Spurs are on defense, it could be a win-win for James Harden.
A large part of Harden’s game is going downhill towards the rim and drawing fouls, but normally things get pretty tight in the playoffs. However, if the NBA cracks down on the Spurs, the officials who might have turned a blind eye towards Harden won’t be able to because of the pressure Fizdale applied just the series before.
Back in 2005, this same scenario happened for the Rockets when they took on the Mavericks. Jeff Van Gundy blasted officials for their treatment of Yao Ming and while he was fined 100,000 dollars, the Mavericks would end up losing in the next round, coincidently to Mike D’Antoni.