“We’ve got to play better, but in my opinion, [this was] one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve ever seen in my NBA career,” Jenkins said in his postgame news conference. “All five of our starters borderline fouled out in the first quarter. Ten-plus foul difference, 40 free throws. Yeah, some things we’ve got to clean and get better at, but I’ve never seen a more inconsistent and arrogant officiated game.
“So I’ll take whatever hits are coming my way. I gotta protect our guys. We know we’ve gotta get better, but from the get-go, it was foul, foul, foul, foul, foul, inconsistency. There was actually one play where a foul whistle was blown before contact was even made. It’s embarrassing.”
In Game 4, officials whistled Memphis for 33 personal fouls as compared to 23 for Minnesota, with the Grizzlies’ starting five combining for 25.
“I don’t even wanna talk about the officiating,” Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks said. “When I was growing up, when I was in the league the first three years and I watched playoff basketball, there were barely any calls called. They let the players play and figure it out. I felt like they just wanna run the show. They want their name on TV, and their names are all over that TV, all three of them. It should be called out.”
The series, tied 2-2 heading back to Memphis for Game 5 on Tuesday, has been marred by foul trouble for key players. In Game 2, the teams combined to attempt 33 free throws in the first quarter. Grizzlies’ big man Jaren Jackson Jr., one of the team’s standout defenders, has racked up 20 personal fouls in the four games while converting only 14 field goals. He fouled out Saturday night with 4:29 remaining in the game.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns also has struggled. He sat considerable time on the bench with foul trouble in Games 2 and 3, both Timberwolves losses.