The ha-ha moment on Friday night came when Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers was ejected from a game, just a minute ahead of Los Angeles Clippers coach (and Austin’s father) Doc Rivers being tossed by the referee crew. The ejections, pitched in the second quarter of the Clippers’ 140-116 decimation at the hands of the Houston Rockets, made a bit of history in that familial sense.
Watch Austin’s drive and move, no-call, and the reaction that earned him an ejection (via Pro Basketball Talk):
And here, a minute later, is what drove Doc Rivers out of the game:
Beyond making history, Austin Rivers clearly doesn’t want him and his father’s archival moment to hit the transactions page. In the form of, as we’re to expect from past punishments, a suspension from the NBA for the contact he made with referee J.T. Orr.
Rivers touched the ref during a protest, there’s no getting away from that. This, in every league case we’ve seen so far, results in a suspension. Austin would like context and intent, however, to be considered by the league:
“I would never put my hands on a ref. I have never done anything like that in my career and it was frustrating to me because he happened to be right behind me,” Austin Rivers said. “He knows I didn’t touch him like that … he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and unfortunately it cost me the game … and it was a big deal for our team me going down.”
Austin might be too young to remember, though, that even Magic Johnson had to take a seat following the bumping of a ref:
Magic was eventually suspended three games by the NBA.
[Follow Dunks Don’t Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
Doc Rivers, a pro at speaking to the media following a referee’s ejection, blamed his frustration on the refereeing crew’s inattention to detail:
During a timeout a few seconds later, Doc Rivers walked toward where all three referees were standing and began yelling at them. He was then ejected by crew chief Jason Phillips.
Phillips said Rivers was ejected for using “extreme profanity” while complaining about his son being ejected. But Doc Rivers said that wasn’t the case and he called the timeout because they saw an official call a foul on a layup Marreese Speights made on the play before the timeout, but didn’t give them the free throw.
“I said: ‘No you forgot to give us the free throw,”’ Doc Rivers said. “I said: ‘Come on, you guys don’t know what you’re doing.’ That was it.”
The NBA may suspend Austin Rivers after all, contending that even inadvertent contact still counts as contact, and that he needs to be more careful in his rolling gesticulations while protesting near the position that the referees are nearly always stuck in during a play in the paint like that.
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