Though the 2022 NBA playoffs have been incredibly entertaining, there’s been a common falling point: the officiating.
The complaints on the officiating from the NBA spectrum reached a new boiling point Saturday when Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins blasted the referees during his post-game conference following his team’s 119-118 Game 4 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We could’ve played better, but in my opinion, one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve ever seen in my NBA career,” Jenkins said. “…Yeah, some things we got to clean up and get better at, but I’ve never seen a more inconsistent and arrogant officiated game.”
Jenkins pointed out that his starting five was already in serious foul trouble in the opening quarter. Minnesota attempted 40 total free throws on the night to Memphis’ 25, and 18 of them came in the first quarter.
Jenkins also mentioned the foul differential between the two teams. Memphis was called for 33 fouls on the night to Minnesota’s 23. The third-year head coach knows what to expect after his comments went live.
“I’ll take whatever hits come my way,” Jenkins said ahead of a likely fine from the NBA. “I gotta protect our guys.”
Jenkins is not the only member of the NBA spectrum to complain about the officiating. Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid gave referees a sarcastic clap after Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors in a series that has become mired in fouling woes.
The rise in complaints parallel a dramatic increase in the free throw rate statistic. According to John Hollinger of The Athletic, the free throw rate from the 2022 regular season to postseason is up 21%. And that number was prior to Saturday’s games. The second-highest increase was 16.3% in the 2010 season.
If that percentage doesn’t come down soon, then comments like Jenkins’ may become more routine.