“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.
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The Milwaukee Bucks star went on to take a few swings in the batting cage beneath the stands before the Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays. The 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo got some coaching, with limited results – he swung and missed once with the ball on a tee, and made light contact on two other tries.
“I would be a terrible baseball player,” he said.
The “Greek Freak” was in the Bronx with his three brothers to promote his new signature sneaker and signed a pair for a fan – Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia.
Antetokounmpo watched the Yankees take batting practice, which reinforced his notion that he wasn’t destined for the diamond.
“I saw Aaron Judge hitting the ball into the stands. That’s amazing. You’ve got to be really strong to do that,” he said.
Chris Paul is making a stopover in Oklahoma City. The Rockets sent him there for Paul George, but the competitive 34-year-old point guard doesn’t want to be part of a long rebuilding project. He wants to be traded again before the season starts.
His preference? Miami, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN. There, CP3 would team up with Jimmy Butler. Miami is open to the idea, but what has hung the entire thing up is the discussion of picks, Windhorst said on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Monday night (hat tip NESN).
“When you talk about him potentially going to the Miami Heat, which is his preference, one thing I’ve been told in the talks; the fact that the Thunder hold the two of the Heat’s first-round picks in the future — unprotected 2021, protected 2023 — makes this a difficult conversation because the Heat want those picks back,” Windhorst said. “The Thunder have expressed an interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future. So I do think that these teams have a lot to talk about.”
Oklahoma City is rebuilding and the mountain of picks they have compiled through trading George and Westbrook — 16 potential first rounders through 2026, including their own, enough to make Danny Ainge think they have too many picks — is at the heart of that plan. While the Thunder can afford to give one or two up, they don’t want to.
Miami is saying that to take on Paul’s remaining three-years, $124 million, they want a sweetener. Which is what every team would ask for.
Which brings us to another problem for the Thunder: There is not much of a market for Paul. Miami is the only name really mentioned in negotiations. There is speculation about other potential landing spots, and no doubt some feeler calls have come into Sam Presti in OKC, but the Heat seem to be the only team going down the road of serious talks.
There are other challenges to getting this trade done. For example, the Thunder would love to shed salary (they are still $3.7 million into the tax) but the Heat are hard-capped after the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade and cannot absorb any more salary.
The Heat may be the place Paul ultimately lands but finding a deal that works could take some time to bring together.