The Memphis Grizzlies fired coach David Fizdale on Monday and named J.B. Bickerstaff as the interim head coach. This marks the second time in recent years that Bickerstaff has served as an interim head coach, as he replaced the Houston Rockets' Kevin McHale in November of 2015.
Fizdale was in his second season as head coach of the Grizzlies after long being one of the league's most highly regarded assistant coaches.
The former Grizzlies coach made a huge mistake by sitting out a struggling Marc Gasol throughout the fourth quarter, opting instead to ride the hot hand of his small ball lineup, but failing to yield the right results, as his team proved unable to overcome a 14-point deficit to start the quarter, resulting in an eighth consecutive loss. "You take it personal", Gasol told reporters following the loss.
"If I'm not on the floor, then I'm not valued", Gasol said. The Grizzlies went 43-39 a year ago before the San Antonio Spurs dispatched them in the first round after six games. "I'm sure [the coaching staff] knew that would hurt me the most".
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Portland coach Terry Stotts called Fizdale's firing very disappointing. "Winning is my only priority".
Fizdale became the franchise's 13th head coach on May 29, 2016, and he went 50-51.
"After a thorough evaluation, I decided a change in course was necessary to move forward and provide the team and organization its best chance at success this season and beyond", Wallace said in a statement.
Next up: The Grizzlies travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Wednesday. "Explain it to me", Fizdale ranted.