The NBA’s new coach’s challenge has gone over terribly.
From Doc Rivers repeatedly condemning the rule to Nick Nurse celebrating a successful challenge as if he won a championship to LeBron James – echoing many – pointing out that referees are far too reluctant to overturn their own calls to fans grumbling about even more stoppages… nobody seems happy.
Last night, Celtics coach Brad Stevens seemingly reached his breaking point.
Stevens challenged Grant Williams fouling Julius Randle on an and-one late in Boston’s win over the Knicks. Officials reviewed the play and ruled Williams didn’t commit a foul – but that Randle was already shooting, so his basket still counted.
Informed of the verdict, Stevens slumped into his chair and appeared to say:
I’m done with these f—ing challenges. This is unbelievable.
And this was a challenge Stevens ostensibly “won.”
He probably wanted the call reversed to a Randle offensive foul. That would’ve negated the basket.
This is the problem with challenging in a flow sport like basketball. Not only must coaches figure what the right call is, they must also determine what a reversal would mean before challenging. It’s too much guesswork.