“I don’t complain much…” the second those words left Doc Rivers’ mouth after Game 5, there was not so much outright laughter as eye rolls throughout the NBA. No team complains to and about officiating as much as the Clippers.
But as he continued everyone knew this was going to cost him cash.
“I thought we got some really tough calls tonight,” Rivers said. “Some brutal calls. The travel on Blake (Griffin), the goaltend on Matt (Barnes), which wasn’t a goaltend. You think about the playoffs, and they’re single-possession games. Those possessions those were crucial. J.J. (Redick’s) foul that got him (fouled) out, J.J. didn’t touch anyone. It’s not why we lost, but those were big plays for us.”
Those comments cost Rivers a $25,000 fine, something the league announced.
He’s not wrong about some of those calls. Barnes’ offensive interference was a poor call, as was the Griffin travel. To be fair, the officials had some questionable calls both ways (particularly early in the game some interesting decisions went against the Spurs), but late in the game the Clippers seemed to get the worse of it.
That said, the officials are never the sole reason a team loses a game. The Clippers were 1-of-14 from three, Blake Griffin was 1-of-9 in the fourth, DeAndre Jordan had an offensive interference call that likely cost the Clippers a key basket with seven seconds left (and that was a good call, Jordan admitted touching the ball).
One other thing: The Spurs handle the ups and downs of the calls and the game much more smoothly than the Clippers. They spend a lot of energy complaining.