MEMPHIS — Taylor Jenkins is mad. Big mad.
The Utah Jazz were pretty happy with the result of Friday night’s game — they won, 127-121 — but the Memphis Grizzlies head coach was infuriated, and that might be an understatement.
In his press conference following the game, Jenkins went on an expletive-laden rant about how the officials had dropped the ball.
For context, Jenkins was issued a technical foul and Jaren Jackson Jr. was ejected after being hit with two technicals with 4:30 left to play in the third quarter after a no-call that both believed deserved attention from the officials.
Additionally, Marcus Smart fouled out of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
Jenkins went into the postgame interview knowing that he was going to say some inflammatory things about the job the referees did.
“Saddle up,” he said. “One of the most poorly officiated games I’ve ever seen. Record it, I’m fine with it. (Expletive) atrocious.”
Jenkins was particularly angry about the fact that the ejection was issued to Jackson, who actually has a reputation for not complaining to officials, and the free-throw discrepancy between the Jazz and Grizzlies.
“He plays 23 minutes and is in the paint all night,” Jenkins said of Jackson. “He’s one of the most professional players in this league. He gets a double technical foul and the excuse I get is that he’s ‘charging at an official.’ It’s called deescalation. Twenty-nine free throws to 13. And I’m not that coach. If you go back in the history, I’ve done this one other time.
“Our team is competing their (expletive) off. Their (expletive) off, and this is what happens? The interactions right now with the officials — complete disrespect. I know what’s coming. It’s unbelievable the looks on the faces when I’m trying to engage in conversation to defend our guys that are busting their tail right now.”
The ejection came during a Grizzlies run that continued after Jackson was ejected. After being down as many as 21 points, Memphis eventually tied the game in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz were able to pull ahead, and free throws were really important for the Jazz down the stretch.
“If you go watch the play, two possessions in a row (Jackson) gets hacked underneath the basket, zero free-throw attempts,” Jenkins said. “I’m not trying to put a name on a jersey and say that this guy should earn these fouls. Watch the game … I don’t understand it, when guys are competing their tails off.
“And we’ve got stuff we can clean up. Sometimes we’re grabbing or holding, but in the heat of the battle, when conversations are trying to be had, notices being made on things that are happening, and there’s not the enforcement of it, it blows my mind. What are we doing here?”
The Grizzlies fell to 1-8 on the season and 0-2 in the in-season tournament.