Doc Rivers (left) and the Clippers
didn't get a favorable replay review in the final seconds of Game 5. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Clippers coach Doc Rivers screamed at Thunder owner Clay Bennett before blasting the officiating over a controversial call in Los Angeles' 105-104 loss in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday, according to Yahoo Sports.
From Marc Spears:
Fresh off a stunning collapse that had pushed his Los Angeles Clippers within a game of season's end, still fuming over a controversial replay call he would later lament as potentially "series-defining," coach Doc Rivers marched out of the locker room late Tuesday with fury in his eyes. He headed toward the interview room only to spot Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett walking past in the hallway.
"Wow!" Rivers yelled at Bennett. "Why can't we get the right replay?"
Bennett, perhaps still stunned by his unlikely change in fortune, didn't say a word in response and just kept walking.
Rivers then met with reporters and launched into an extended diatribe against the officials’ decision to grant Oklahoma City possession after an out-of-bounds call with 11.3 seconds to play and the Clippers leading 104-102. Thunder guard Reggie Jackson was driving to the basket when Clippers forward Matt Barnes swiped at the ball.
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Replays appeared to indicate that Barnes fouled Jackson and that Jackson was the last player to touch the ball. The referees, who were unable to review whether there was a foul due to league rules, took a look at the play and determined that Barnes had touched the ball last. In Rivers’ opinion, the officials came to that decision as a make-up call because they could not retroactively assess a foul on Barnes.
“Everybody knows it was our ball,” Rivers said. “The bottom line is that they thought it was a foul and they made up for it. In my opinion, let’s take away replay. Let’s take away the replay system. That was our ball, we win the game. We got robbed because of that call. It’s clear, everybody in the arena saw it. That’s why everybody was shocked when they said Oklahoma City. That was our ball. Whether it was a foul or not -- it was -- but they didn’t call it.”
Speaking for more than nine minutes -- significantly longer than the average post-game press conference -- Rivers returned time and time again to the disputed call.
“We did a lot of stuff to lose the game ourselves,” he admitted. “But at the end of the day, we have a replay system that you’re supposed to look at. I don’t want to hear that they didn’t have that replay. … That’s a bunch of crap, and y’all know it. … We made a comedy of errors. Having said that, we still have the right to win the game if the [call] says it’s our ball. That’s too bad. … That could be a series-defining call. And that’s not right.”
The Thunder, who rallied from a seven-point deficit with 49 seconds left, lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is Thursday in Los Angeles.
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Rivers told reporters that he was so sure the ball would go to the Clippers that he was already drawing up an inbounds play before they made the official ruling. He then suggested that even the TNT broadcasting crew believed the officials -- Tony Brothers, Bennett Salvatore and Tom Washington -- had made the wrong decision.
“Steve Kerr and them were over there shaking their head, everybody saw it,” Rivers said. “My thinking was, I was pissed. I don’t think that’s working the officials. That’s being honest with the officials. I love them, I think all three of those officials are terrific officials. On that call, they got it wrong. That’s a game-defining and possibly a series-defining call. And that ain’t right.
“Our officials don’t do anything on purpose, they don’t cheat or anything like that. They made a horrendous call. … Get it right. That’s the only answer. Sometimes its hard, where it can go either way. Then, what can you do? When it’s that clear, the answer is [to] get it right. … That one wasn’t hard, but what can you do?”
Brothers released a statement explaining the officials’ viewpoint after the game.
“When the ball goes out of bounds, the ball was awarded to Oklahoma City,” Brothers’ statement read. “We go review the play. We saw two replays. The two replays we saw were from the overhead camera showing down, and the one from under the basket showing the same angle but from a different view. And from those two replays, it was inconclusive as to who the ball went out of bounds off of. When it’s inconclusive we have to go with the call that was on the floor.”