Rudy Gobert: Refs' Treatment of Jazz 'Disrespectful to the Game of Basketball'

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 4, 2021

Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert, left, tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Utah Jazz are heading into the All-Star break anything but relaxed after Wednesday's 131-123 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime. 

Feeling as though his team was cheated out of a number of calls by referees, Jazz star Rudy Gobert harshly criticized the officiating both on Wednesday and in previous outings. Gobert alleged that since Utah plays in a smaller market, the Jazz don't get the benefit of the doubt across the league.

"Our guys are not able to get calls that every other f--king guy in the league gets," Gobert said after posting 12 points and nine rebounds in the loss. "I think it's disrespectful to the game of basketball... We know we're a small market, and I don't want to say it, but when you're a small market, you gotta be better than better... It's very disappointing to be disrespected like that."

Gobert was far from the only Jazz player to speak out after the loss. 

Donovan Mitchell called the officiating "f--king ridiculous," adding "it's really getting out of hand." Mitchell was ejected early in overtime after Sixers big man Joel Embiid appeared to lobby refs to assess a technical, but Utah's issues began well before the extra frame tipped off. 

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An apparent turnover by Philadelphia with 28 seconds remaining in regulation was overturned on video replay after a second look showed Jazz forward Royce O'Neale tipped a loose ball out of bounds. Utah led 116-113 when the call was made, though a Tobias Harris layup would cut the lead down to one point on the ensuing play. 

Overall the Jazz were called for 24 fouls compared to 17 for the Sixers. 

Utah averaged the seventh-fewest fouls per game (18.8) while drawing the 16th-most calls (19.5) through 35 games entering Wednesday. 

As disrespected as Gobert and Mitchell feel, the Jazz remain atop the NBA with a record of 27-9—three games ahead of the Phoenix Suns, Sixers and Los Angeles Lakers