In a crucial 118-104 loss to the New York Knicks Monday night, Memphis Grizzlies' reigning Rookie of the Year Ja Morant watched the final minute of the game from the locker room after being assessed back-to-back technicals by referee Tony Brothers. He joined Taylor Jenkins in the locker room as the head coach was also ejected from the game just a minute before Morant was tossed.
After the game, Morant took to social media to call out Brothers for ejecting him, which will surely catch the attention of the league office and possibly result in a fine.
When Jenkins was asked about he and Morant's ejections after the loss, he diverted his response to talking about Memphis' games ahead, effectively declining to comment on it. Both Morant and Jenkins were upset with the lack of foul calls throughout the game and made the referees very aware about it. On one possession at the end of the fourth quarter, Morant was driving toward the basket and Knicks guard Derrick Rose appeared to foul the second-year guard, but nothing was called. That led to Jenkins screaming from the sideline, which earned him the first technical. Shortly after, when he continued to shout at the referees, Jenkins was assessed a second tech and the automatic ejection.
On the next Grizzlies possession after Jenkins got tossed, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks was also given a technical, at which point Morant became frustrated. After continuously talking to Brothers, he was assessed back-to-back technicals. Brothers explained afterward why he gave Morant the two technicals, and said "of course not," when asked if he used threatening language as Morant suggested on Twitter.
"They had been warned and he continued to complain, and I gave him an opportunity to stop and he wouldn't, so I called the first technical foul. And then he continued to complain and walked towards me and so when he got close to me, I called a second technical foul and ejected him."
Brothers is known to be pretty liberal with technical foul calls, but what happened with the Grizzlies was pretty surprising. Morant should be able to air his frustrations with the referees without them feeling like they're being attacked. While it's probably annoying hearing players complain about the lack of foul calls, it's a part of the game. It's understandable if players are crossing a line or are consistently whining, but what happened in that Memphis game didn't look like anything you wouldn't see in any other NBA game.
All in all, not a great night for the Grizzlies. Not only were they given five technicals in a span of two minutes, but they lost to the Knicks, dropping them a half-game behind the Golden State Warriors for the eighth spot in the West.