Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins was lucky to escape without an ejection on Friday night after a bizarre incident in which he ran onto the floor in the middle of his team’s 127-113 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Jenkins, who was upset about an altercation between LeBron James and Jaren Jackson Jr., nearly collided with Taurean Prince and forced the game to stop.
Jenkins told the media after the game that he apologized to Lakers head coach Darvin Ham.
“You can’t do that, so I take full responsibility there,” Jenkins said. “I saw a tussle there, Jaren’s clamping LeBron, then I saw something that crossed the line… I had to stand up for my guy.”
In the middle of the third quarter, Marcus Smart tried to feed the ball into Jackson, who was posting up James. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year was unable to corral it, though, which led to a scramble between him and James, who eventually came up with the ball. After doing so, however, James appeared to hit Jackson in the face with an elbow/forearm shiver.
Taylor Jenkins livid after a no-call 😳 pic.twitter.com/bjznk7v3uw
— Bally Sports: Grizzlies (@GrizzOnBally) January 6, 2024
The referees didn’t catch that in real time, but Jenkins did. He stormed onto the court while play continued, which stopped the Lakers’ fastbreak, and was immediately hit with a technical foul. Even after the tech, he continued screaming at the referees, who went to the monitor to review the situation.
Following a brief review, the officials decided not to assess any further penalties. Play resumed, and Jackson, who finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, remained in the game.
“That’s my dog,” Jackson said. “He’s been great all season. He’s been great ever since he’s been here. He’s held it down the whole time, and that’s just what he does. He’s one of us, he’s a player’s coach. He’s with us in the den, he’s with us when it gets hard. I expect nothing less. I already knew what he was on. I could hear him when I was on the ground. At all times, I know he’s got my back.”
With the win, the Grizzlies improved to 6-3 with Ja Morant in the lineup this season. At 12-23 overall, however, they remain five games back of 10th place and the final Play-In Tournament spot.