Clippers frustrated with officials, themselves, must find way to regroup in 48 hours

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LOS ANGELES — To a man, the Clippers tried not to blame the officials for their Game 5 loss… but you could tell they wanted to.

“I don’t complain much,” Doc Rivers said, in the quintessential line that tells you complaints are coming. “I thought we got some really tough calls tonight. 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.”

The referees are never the sole reason a team loses, that includes the Clippers on Tuesday night. In this case, the Clippers were 1-of-14 from three, and DeAndre Jordan tipped in a ball over the cylinder that could have had Los Angeles up  with seven seconds to go. (After the game Jordan admitted touching the ball.) There were other plays they missed.

But the Clippers felt the calls in the fourth quarter didn’t go their way and robbed them of some opportunities. They were very frustrated as a team. And they have a point, plenty of calls didn’t go their way that should have — Jamal Crawford got called for bodying Tony Parker on the baseline when Parker hooked his arm around Crawford and pulled him into his body. Rivers was right about the Matt Barnes goaltend, and the Blake Griffin travels being poor calls.

Then there was the technical on Chris Paul, which confused Rivers and the Clippers players — and ended up being costly late.

“I thought if anything, (the technical foul) was a delay of game,” Paul said after the game. “In the other 82 games, it would have been a delay of fame but they didn’t call it.”

While the calls didn’t go their way, the Clippers got frustrated and at moments flustered in a way the Spurs simply don’t when they don’t get the breaks.

“We have to give credit to the Spurs. We’ve got to play through our mistakes,” Paul said.

“I’ll be frustrated all night…” Rivers said. “There’s nothing wrong with frustration. I have no problem with guys being frustrated, you have 48 hours or whatever to get over it, and we will.”

They need to get over it by tip off Thursday night — they can’t afford to have a hangover from this game, fall behind in San Antonio and play catch-up. The Spurs don’t want to make another flight back to Los Angeles, they want to close the game out so Saturday nights they can go to watch Mayweather vs. Pacquiao parties on Saturday. You can be sure the Spurs will bring it.

Can the Clippers?

“Yeah, it’s a gettable game,” Blake Griffin said. “It’s not going to be easy by any means, this is what they do. They’re a great team, a well-coached team, and they’ve been in this situation before. But we’ve also been in tough situations. We’ve also played in some tough games, some games on the road that we needed to win, and we did.

“I expect us to be ready.”

Chris Paul on 2020 Olympics: My wife wants to go to Tokyo

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.

So great, he might even take on extra workload.

Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:

I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.

I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.

We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.

Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.

If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:

Chris Paul

Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament

Did John Beilein’s methods lead to Dylan Windler’s season-ending injury?

Former Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Dylan Windler
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John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.

Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?

Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.

There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.

Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.

But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.

Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.

Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.

The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.

But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.

Bucks’ minor-league coach suspended two games for rant (video)

Bucks minor-league coach Chase Buford
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Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

G League release:

Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.

I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.

I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.

In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.

Watch entire Kobe Bryant memorial service (video)

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The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:

But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.