Lauren Holtkamp, once publicly criticized by Chris Paul, calls key late technical on Clippers PG

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Chris Paul made waves last year when he said of rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp, “This might not be for her.”

The Clippers point guard insisted he was merely protesting a technical foul, not making a sexist comment. The NBA fined him $25,000 for publicly criticizing officiating.

If you wanted to argue Holtkamp held a grudge, last night would be Exhibit A.

The Clippers were trailing the Timberwolves by two points with 20 seconds left. Paul and J.J. Redick attempted to trap Ricky Rubio, and Redick was called for a foul.

Paul clapped in the direction of Holtkamp, who was in somewhat close proximity and walking closer to report the foul to the scorers’ table. As Paul turned away, she called a technical foul.

Rubio made the technical free throw, helping Minnesota pull away for a 108-102 win.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Asked if the Clippers were provided with an explanation from officials, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, “Overt clap. That was the explanation. Overt clap.”

“It’s crazy,” Paul said. “I guess it was for what I said.” Asked specifically what he said, Paul replied, “Nothing. I said nothing.”

“You cannot get techs in the fourth quarter,” Paul said. “That was a big call. [Rubio] missed one free throw. That would’ve put us down three instead of down four. Regardless of the situation, I have to do a better job of not putting it in the hands of them to make a call like that. So that’s on me.”

Paul neither affirmed nor dispelled the notion that his previous run-in with Holtkamp informed the fourth quarter call.

“The [NBA has] got my money already,” Paul said. “I got kids in private school.”

Told he and Holtkamp shared a history, Paul interjected, “Do we?”

I dislike how officials change their standards late in close games. But they do.

Players get more leeway to complain in the final moments. That’s accepted and understood by everyone involved.

A technical for a somewhat aggressive clap in that situation is practically unheard of. More troublingly, that seems like a weak tech at any point in the game.

Maybe Holtkamp warned Paul earlier in the game. Maybe he said something that didn’t show up in the telecast. Maybe this was just an isolated bad call unrelated to the people involved.

Heck, Holtkamp might have just lost patience with Paul for constantly complaining to all referees, not anything specifically he said about her.

Retribution wasn’t necessarily the cause of this technical foul.

But this one sure looked more suspect than most.