Players stand behind Doc Rivers after he is fined $25,000 for Game 5 post-game rant against officials

first_imgIt was no surprise that Clippers coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 by the league for his rant against officials following his team’s controversial 105-104 Game 5 loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday in the Western Conference semifinals.Rivers lashed out in the post-game news conference after his team blew a 13-point lead with 4:11 to play to fall behind 3-2 in the series. The situation that ticked off Rivers and his players was a play on which the ball appeared to go out of bounds off the hand of OKC’s Reggie Jackson with 11.3 seconds to play, rather than the Clippers’ Matt Barnes.Officials said the replay was inconclusive and the call made on the court stood, the Thunder retaining possession of the ball. Then, with 6.4 seconds left, Chris Paul fouled Russell Westbrook, who was behind the 3-point line. Westbrook made all three free throws for the game’s final points.Rivers afterward said that the call was “brutal” and “horrendous.” He even intimated that officials who said the replay was inconclusive were making up for not having called a foul on Barnes. Barnes backed his coach for backing his players in tough fashion.“I think it was needed,” Barnes said at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 6 Thursday night at Staples Center. “Like I’ve said, he (Rivers) has done a great job all year being a shield for this team, with all the unfortunate stuff that’s come up during the playoffs. He’s done a good job of being a shield and letting us play basketball.”Crawford chimes inLike Barnes, Jamal Crawford stood behind his coach.“He said what he believed,” Crawford said. “We always have coach’s back. He has our backs, we always have his back.” Crawford was asked if this was Rivers having his players’ backs.“Well, yeah, but honestly, he’s had our backs the whole way through, he really has,” he said. “He’s been great. He felt a certain way about a situation and we backed him up for sure.”Rivers fine with fineThe Clippers coach met with reporters before Thursday’s tip-off. Right away, he was asked for a reaction to the penalty, which he expected.“Oh, I don’t care about the fine,” he said. “I thought it was deserved. It was one of the rare times that you actually earn one, so I don’t mind that. It is what it is. The funniest thing about the fine is my assistant got two calls from downtown and (they) wanted to do a payroll deduction of $100 each to help me pay for the fine, which we obviously denied.“But it is a thought. We can raise money right here if you guys all want to pool in.”After reporters stopped laughing, Rivers became a little more serious.“It needed to be said, and it was the truth,” he said of his post-game assault. “It was a call that should have gone our way, and that’s been verified as well. But at the end of the day, like I said, I still look at us as saying we made our own problems. It should have never come to that.” The league released a statement Wednesday saying the call was “correctly” made, but only in the context that it could not be overturned because the replay was inconclusive in the minds of the officials working the game.Barnes on DurantKevin Durant scored 25 points in the first game of this series. But then he went for 31, 36 and 40 before settling for 27 in Game 5 on a night when he shot just 6 of 22 from the field.Barnes played a big role in that poor shooting night Tuesday, as he stayed much closer to the league MVP. He said that was the key.“Just being in him,” Barnes said, when asked about his success on Durant until Durant scored 10 of his points down the stretch. “The first few games I was off him a little bit because I didn’t want him to beat me off the dribble. So I had to be a lot more aggressive being into his body.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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