Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Clarkson crashed to the floor. His dunk attempt in the second half of Utah's loss to the Trail Blazers was swatted cleanly out of the air, leading to a Portland fast break.
At least, that's what the officials saw; in reality, Clarkson was clobbered.
His right arm was swatted down, which led to a dangerous fall. Official Tony Brothers appeared to have a clear view of the play, but no foul was called.
For 25 games, Will Hardy walked a tight line and avoided his first technical foul. After seeing Clarkson sprawled out on the court, he couldn't walk it anymore. The Jazz coach got T'd up.
"It should have been two; I should have gotten thrown out," Hardy said of the incident. "That play was gross. I'm happy that Jordan's not hurt — not that it was a dirty play. I don't think there was any intent for it to be dirty, but when a guy goes up in the air and lands on his back going for a dunk, you would hope that that one gets called. But, again, that's life in the NBA. I'll have to rethink my Christmas shopping."
There's some good news on the Christmas front, though: Jazz owner Ryan Smith tweeted he would cover the fine for Hardy's first-ever technical.
Jordan Clarkson absolutely mauled by two players. No call from Tony Brothers who instead gives coach Will Hardy the first T of his career when he complains. pic.twitter.com/nRQwRUZYAh— dave (@nbadaves) December 4, 2022
After the game, Clarkson said his arm was mostly fine — his elbow was a little swollen, but nothing major — and then gave a wry smile as he said, "I guess, it's part of the game, right?" The smile's intent was clear: He didn't actually think that was part of the game.
The Jazz weren't about to blame the officials for the loss, but …
"At the same time, you get upset because we are here working," Clarkson said. "They don't have to deal with all the outside stuff; they don't get fined, nothing happens to them when they miss calls and change situations in the game."
There were other missed calls in the game, Clarkson said. He didn't think he was given space to land on a corner 3-pointer, and he didn't think the fouls were even down the stretch. Add in the scary fall and it's no surprise he was a bit irritated after the loss.
Clarkson didn't get an explanation as to why the refs didn't call a foul on his flight to the basket. He talked to the crew afterward and suggested they might want to have a look at the film.
"We are all in this game together," Clarkson said. "We come to work just like they come to work. They lace up their shoes, they make mistakes, I make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. At some point, you've got to be held accountable. I get held accountable for missed shots, turnovers, late-game situations — everything. I think we all just got to be held accountable."
He pointed out that players are fined for language in pressers, criticizing officials (his disapproval of the officials on Saturday wasn't likely fine worthy), and even penalized for leaving the bench.
But, he said, sarcastically or not, that's all part of the game.