Spurs look to continue dominance of Grizzlies in Game 3

David Fizdale’s epic post-game rant came, unsurprisingly, with a price tag: $30,000.

The Memphis Grizzlies coach blasted the officials after his team lost 96-82 to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night in San Antonio. On Wednesday, the NBA levied the fine against him.

Asked about the $30,000 penalty, Fizdale replied: “That’s what they chose to do.”

Fizdale said he has gotten a lot of community support since his outburst; and, if he has created a catch-phrase, he’s fine with that. Fizdale finished his tirade by slamming his fist on a table and yelling, “Take that for data,” before storming out.

“If it rallies our fans — and it sounds like we’re selling T-shirts and the money is going back into the community — it’s worth it for me,” Fizdale said.

The Western Conference series, which the Spurs lead 2-0, shifts to Memphis for Game 3 on Thursday at FedEx Forum.

In his post-game press conference on Tuesday, Fizdale called the officiating “unprofessional and “unacceptable.”

“It’s unfortunate that I’ve got a guy like (point guard) Mike Conley that in his whole career has got zero technical fouls and just cannot seem to get the proper respect from the officials that he deserves,” Fizdale said after the game. “It was a very poorly officiated basketball game.”

What irked Fizdale most was the disparity in fouls called during the game. The Spurs made 31 of 32 free throws, while the Grizzlies were 13 for 15. San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard was 19 for 19.

“Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws,” Fizdale said. “But somehow Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half, we shot 19 shots in the paint, and we had six free throws. They shot 11 times in the paint, and they had 23 free throws.

“I’m not a numbers guy, but that doesn’t seem to add up. Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint. We had 15 free throws for the game. They shot 18 times in the paint and had 32 free throws. Kawhi shot more free throws than our whole team. Explain it to me.”

Conley said the Grizzlies have their coach’s back.

“The thing we took out of it is just him standing up for us, regardless of the situation,” Conley said. “But we’re looking forward to the next game. We’ll stay playing physical like we always do.”

Conley said the players would reimburse their coach for the $30,000, according to The Commercial-Appeal of Memphis.

“That whole thing Fiz did kind of sparked everybody and created some excitement around here in a weird way,” he said.

Spurs center Pau Gasol responded to Fizdale’s rant, noting that he hadn’t been to the free throw line once in the series. He said he assumed the coach was trying to fire up the Grizzlies.

“I think he’s just trying to motivate his team, stand up for his team, that’s it,” Gasol told the San Antonio Express-News. “There’s no other twist about it. You have to get your team going, and you do it whichever way is necessary, I guess.”

Memphis’ biggest problem thus far has been its inability to slow down Leonard.

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. In the two games, Leonard is 20 of 28 from the floor and has made all 28 of his free throws.

“Memphis is a physical team,” Leonard said. “They’re doing a great job of throwing a lot of bodies at me. The refs were really paying attention, and I was able to get to the line.”

Game 4 will be Saturday night in Memphis.