Jazz Furious With Officials After Loss To 76ers
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are heading into the All-Star break with a bad taste in their mouth after a 131-123 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. After the game, the team expressed their frustration with the league’s officials in the loss.
Both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were livid with the officiating late in the game as the Jazz head into the nine-day hiatus winning just one of their final four games.
Mike Conley missed a runner at the end of regulation that could have won the game but the shot rimed which resulted in the Jazz first overtime game of the season.
Joel Embiid was dominant once again, scoring 40 points and grabbing 19 rebounds to lead the 76ers to the win.
Jazz Livid With Officials After Game
The Jazz felt cheated by officials throughout the loss with Mitchell, Gobert, Conley, and coach Quin Snyder all airing their grievances after the game.
Mitchell was ejected in the overtime period after picking up two technical fouls on calls that went against the Jazz. First, Gobert was whistled for a foul against Embiid on a putback dunk opportunity that appeared to show the 76ers All-Star simply fail to elevate to the rim.
On the ensuing play, Mitchell drew contact from 76ers guard Ben Simmons on a missed three-point shot. Simmons wasn’t whistled for a foul and Mitchell was ejected after continuing to complain to the referees.
“I’m never, ever one to blame the refs, to blame officials,” Mitchell said. “I can say we could have done more but this is getting out of hand.”
The Jazz attempted five free-throws in the fourth quarter and overtime while the 76ers made 10 trips to the line.
“We won this game in my personal opinion,” Mitchell said. “I’m going to give them credit, they won whatever, cool, but this is consistent. It’s been a consistent thing.”
Jazz center Rudy Gobert echoed Mitchell’s complaints in his post-game interview.
“I feel like a lot of guys are able to do things that we’re not able to do,” Gobert said. “Our guys are not able to get some calls that everybody else in the **** league gets.”
Like Mitchell, Gobert felt the Jazz had the game taken from them.
“They are a very good team, you’ve got to give them credit,” Gobert said. “But I believe that we deserved to win the game.”
Conley, who is a notoriously nice guy in the NBA and has never received a technical foul also took issues with how the Jazz have been officiated not just in this game, but over his entire career.
“We don’t have the big-time names, the ones that are all over TV and stuff like that,” Conley said. “So it can get a little wild for us, but we have stars. Don is a star, Rudy is a star. Bojan [Bogdanovic] and guys that deserve to get those calls and it’s just not happening for us right now. It’s unfortunate.”
Snyder was the most contained of any member from the Jazz but helped explain where the Jazz feel they might be getting shorthanded by officials.
“It gets to a point when you feel like what you’re doing defensively and what you’re doing offensively are being perceived two different ways,” Snyder said “And that’s essentially what [Mitchell] was trying to express.”
In total, the 76ers attempted 35 free-throws, 16 more than the Jazz, who were whistled for 24 personal fouls to just 17 for Philadelphia.
Jazz Lose Chance To Win In Regulation
The Jazz had a chance to win the game in regulation, owning a three-point lead with 28 seconds remaining.
However, after a bizarre sequence in which Jazz forward Royce O’Neale appeared to save a ball that would have given the Jazz possession and a comfortable lead, officials ruled that the ball had touched a referee out of bounds and awarded the ball to Philadelphia.
The 76ers cut the Jazz lead to just one on a Tobias Harris layup with 23 seconds left. Conley hit two free-throws to rebuild the lead three before things fell apart for the Jazz.
On a broken play, Embiid hit a well-defended three-pointer over Bogdanovic with just 6.5 seconds left to play. The Jazz had one final opportunity to win but Conley missed a running 16-footer and the game went to overtime.
“I got the ball and was able to get a look at the elbow that [with] another revolution, it might go in,” Conley said. “Just a very comfortable shot and one I’ve made 1000 times, so it’s just unfortunate it didn’t go in.”
In overtime, the Jazz connected on just 1-10 shots while the 76ers made 4-7 to outscore the Jazz 13-5 and walk away with the victory.
Jazz Enter Break With Chip On Their Shoulder
Though the Jazz would have preferred to enter the break having not lost three of their final four games, it seems apparent they’ll approach the second half of the season with a chip on their shoulder.
That’s not a luxury most teams have entering the midway point with the best record in the NBA, the Jazz clearly feel they have a gripe towards the officials and something they can sharpen their ax against to close the year.
Though a postgame explosion shouldn’t be required for teams to get the whistles they feel they deserve, more often than not these types of episodes work in the team’s favor.
Both Mitchell and Gobert should expect hefty fines for their postgame rants, but it may be money well spent in the second half of the season if they’re given a friendlier whistle leading into the playoffs.
The Jazz return to the floor on March 12 to face the Houston Rockets, but both of the Jazz soon-to-be-fined stars will appear in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.