Utah Jazz All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are now a little lighter in the pocket. After Utah's 131-123 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, Mitchell and Gobert both complained to media members about the officiating in the game, and they have been fined for it.
On Friday, the NBA announced that Mitchell has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of the officiating and his conduct while exiting the playing court, while Gobert was fined $20,000 for public criticism of the officiating. Mitchell's fine was more than Gobert's because Mitchell also aggressively knocked over a cooler on his way to the locker room after he was ejected from the contest.
From the NBA:
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of the officiating and his conduct while exiting the playing court and Jazz center Rudy Gobert has been fined $20,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
Mitchell and Gobert made their comments to the media following Utah's 131-123 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on March 3 at Wells Fargo Center. Mitchell, who received two technical fouls and was ejected with 30.8 seconds remaining, recklessly knocked over a water cooler while leaving the court.
Mitchell apparently feels as though the league's officials are out to get the Jazz this season, though his claims don't seem to be based on any sort of facts.
"Now, I'm never ever one to blame a ref, to blame an official -- I can say I could have done more -- but this is getting out of hand," Mitchell said after the loss to the Sixers, via ESPN. "There have been games like this that we've won; there have been games like this that we've lost. But this whole refereeing stuff. ... We're nice, we don't complain, like, we don't get frustrated, we fight through things, and the fact that we continually get ... screwed, in a way, by this.
"We won this game, in my personal opinion," Mitchell continued. "But like I said, I'm going to give them credit. They won. Whatever. Cool. But it's been a consistent thing, and the question is, 'Can we do it? Can we sustain it? Are we for real No. 1?' And, yeah, the hell we are. And it's getting f---ing ridiculous that this is what is happening... But it's really getting out of hand. It's really, really, really getting out of hand. And the league needs to do something about this. I want to see the Last Two Minute Report. I want to see it. But it's getting out of hand."
Gobert spoke to media members after Mitchell, and he doubled down on the comments Mitchell made by claiming the Jazz are consistently officiated differently than the rest of the league.
"Our guys are not able to get calls everybody else in the f---ing league gets," Gobert said. "We know we are the Utah Jazz, and maybe some people don't want to see us go as far as we can go, but it's disappointing... I think it's disrespectful, to be honest, to the game of basketball and to our team, and hopefully, they're going to watch the game when they get home. Hopefully, they feel ashamed when they watch the game."
Gobert went as far as to say that he thought the fact that the Jazz play in a small market is being held against them.
"After playing in this league for eight years, it's a little harder [to be in a small market], and that's one of the things that we've got to overcome," Gobert said. "That's why I told the guys: 'When you're a small market, you've got to be better than just better. You've got to be elite, and you've got to control what you can control.'"
Mitchell and Gobert were obviously upset after a tough loss, but they went a tad far with their comments and unsubstantiated claims. The Last Two Minute Report for the game between the 76ers and Jazz admitted to six errors -- three that went against the Jazz, and three that went against the Sixers. In other words, the game was officiated evenly, albeit poorly, down the stretch.
In all, it's been a rough few days for Mitchell and Gobert. They lost a tough overtime battle to the Sixers on Wednesday, they were the last two players picked in the NBA All-Star Game draft on Thursday night, and they were hit with fines on Friday. The good news for the duo is that the Jazz have the best record in the league heading into the All-Star break, and they look like a legitimate contender. Now, they just have to keep it up in the second half of the season.