The Grizzlies’ eighth loss in nine games this season was an ejection-punctuated gut punch that moved their head coach to hurl an expletive-laced, postgame tirade at the refs for what he called, “One of the most poorly officiated games I’ve ever seen.”
“Saddle up,” said Taylor Jenkins, as he settled in to address the media following Memphis’ 127-121 loss to the Utah Jazz at FedExForum on Friday night.
“(Expletive) atrocious,” said Jenkins, who received a technical for complaining about a third-quarter, no-foul call that led to a double-technical and automatic ejection for Memphis’ All-Star forward Jaren Jackson Jr.
“Twenty-nine free throws (for Utah) to 13…. Our team is competing their (expletive) off, and this is what happens? The interactions right now with the officials, complete disrespect.”
The drama came as Memphis’ homecourt winless spiral became five-games deep. One more home loss and the Grizzlies will have equaled their total for all of last year when they compiled the best won-loss record in the NBA.
Saddled with the worst record in the league as they seek to weather the 25-game suspension of All-Star point guard Ja Morant, the Grizzlies put up another good fight. Following Jackson’s ejection – the first of his career – and Jenkins’ technical, the Grizzlies went on a 15-2 run in the last three minutes to end the quarter and get back into a game that was teetering on the brink of being a lost cause.
Memphis started the game with an adjusted lineup, inserting Jacob Gilyard as the point guard in his first professional start. He tallied a career-high 14 points, with 8 assists. The Grizzlies opened the game with a 7-0 spurt, with the lead pushed to 8-points (19-11) with 5:47 left in the first quarter.
The Jazz struck back with five three-pointers in the quarters and led 34-32 going into the second quarter. The Grizzlies allowed 42 points in the second quarter, as the Jazz connected on 7 more 3-pointers and led by 13 points (76-63), going into the half.
Utah led 93-80 with 4:30 left in the third quarter when the scenario unfolded that resulted in the Jenkins technical and Jackson’s ejection.
“I went up to the basket a couple of times. I spoke my mind a little bit,” said Jackson. “When you speak your mind, sometimes that is what happens. Coach had my back. I didn’t see him get the first one (technical). Coach stands up for the guys. I knew he would stand up for the guys.”
The Jazz pushed their lead to the largest of the game (101-80) before Memphis scrapped back and closed the third quarter down by eight (103-95).
Desmond Bane and Luke Kennard sparked a Memphis push that brought the Grizzlies even with the Jazz (114-114) with 5:19 left to play. After a Utah surge, Memphis made it a one-point game (120-119) with 1:41 on the clock.
The Jazz (3-7), however, would not be denied the victory. Utah was led by Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen; each had 26 points.
Bane turned in a heroic effort for the Grizzlies. He had 37 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Kennard had 14 points off the bench. Jackson had 14 points when ejected.
- The loss kept the Grizzlies winless in the inaugural In-Season Tournament and ended any chance of advancing to the quarterfinals.
- With Veterans Day occurring on Nov. 11, the Grizzlies held Military Appreciation Day.
- Bane on Gilyard’s first NBA start: “The first thing I said after the game was over, you know, ‘Congratulations on the first NBA start.’ I mean, that’s something that I never forgot. I never forgot my first one, and I’m sure he won’t forget his either. It’s a testament to his work and who he is. He stayed with the process. Right attitude regardless of what situation he was in, and that stuff goes a long way.”
- Next up for the Grizzlies is a three-game road trip. They play the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday (Nov. 12) at 2:30 p.m. CST. The Lakers will be next up on Nov. 15, with game against the Spurs in San Antonio on Nov. 18. The next home game is Nov. 19 against the Boston Celtics.