Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was fined $25,000 on Thursday for criticizing officials after the Clippers' Game 5 loss in Oklahoma City.
Rivers blasted officials for not overturning an out-of-bounds call with 11.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter following a TV replay review. Had the call been changed, the Clippers would have had the ball with a 104-102 lead. Instead, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook drew a foul on Chris Paul on a 3-point attempt on the following possession and made all of his free throws to give the Thunder the lead.
"It was our ball," Rivers said after the game. "Everybody knows that it was our ball. I think the bottom line they thought it was a foul and they made up for it. In my opinion, let's take away replay. Let's take away the replay system because that's our ball. We win the game and we got robbed because of that play.
"It's clear. Everybody in the arena saw it. That is why everybody was shocked when they said Oklahoma City [ball]. That was our ball."
The play in question came after Paul lost control of the ball and Thunder guard Reggie Jackson corralled it and drove to the rim. Jackson was hit on the hand by Matt Barnes, jarring the ball out of bounds. The officials did not call a foul on Barnes, but said the Thunder retained possession. The replays appeared to indicate Jackson had last touched the ball.
Tony Brothers – the officiating crew chief for Game 5 – said in a statement after the referees determined the replay was "inconclusive."
"We saw two replays," Brothers said. "The two replays we saw were from the overhead camera showing down, and the one from under the basket showing the same angle but a different view. And from those two replays, it was inconclusive as to whom the ball went out of bounds off of. When it's inconclusive, we have to go with the call that's on the floor."
Rivers and Paul said they were told by the referees that they didn't have the right replay to change the call.
"We did a lot of stuff in the game ourselves," Rivers said after the game. "But at the end of the day, we have a replay system that you're supposed to look at it. I don't want to hear that they didn't have that replay. That's a bunch of crap."
The NBA said Wednesday the referees made the right call in not changing the possession to the Clippers. The Clippers are down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and play host to the Thunder Thursday night.
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