Lest you think it’s all Warriors on the other side, Rivers got into it with Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts last night.
The Blazers’ coach neared halfcourt and got into a shouting match on the sideline with Clippers coach Doc Rivers late in the fourth quarter, eventually dismissing his counterpart with a wave of the hand and a disgusted stomp back to his bench.
The disagreement stemmed from the Clippers’ enthusiasm during a comeback from a 35-point first-half deficit. As they continued to trim the lead, more and more Clippers players began standing on the sideline. At one point, DeAndre Jordan stood in front of the bench with a towel around his neck, and craned his mouth into the ear of Blazers guard CJ McCollum.
On that possession, McCollum nailed a three-pointer with 2:38 left to bring Portland within 107-105, which was accentuated by a long glance toward Jordan. After a timeout was called with 1:59, Jordan and McCollum got face-to-face and exchanged words.
Stotts, apparently, didn’t like how close the Clippers’ bench players were getting to his players who were in the game. According to Rivers, Stotts had words to some of the Clippers players.
He are both coaches addressing the incident:
I HATE players or coaches crowding the sideline. Beyond the safety concern,* it’s just not what basketball should be. It’s a five-on-five game. Players shouldn’t have to navigate outstretched arms and feet. The full court should be available without interference.
So, I’m 100% behind Stotts on substance.
But Rivers has a point about decorum, though his concern about a coach talking to opposing players is overstated. If Stotts wanted the Clippers to back up, the refs were most likely to make that happen.
Of course, that might not have been Stotts’ primary motivation. He might have just been trying to rally the support of his players – a tactic Rivers knows well.
*How many complain about cameras behind the baseline when giving players no escape room on the sideline? I understand the baseline is a more dangerous area, but both places can see injury.
This is why I had no problem with Jason Kidd did to Mike Woodson: