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Coaches around the league are still adapting to the new coach’s challenge rule, where they can look to overturn a call with the bet of a timeout on the line.
Fans wanted it — they love it in the NFL. The league liked what they saw enough last season in the G-League to bring it to the NBA this season. Coaches, the guys with the power, are not believers yet.
Take what Doc Rivers said Saturday at Clippers practice, via Mark Medina of The USA Today.
“I don’t like it, I think the refs have enough on their plate…
“I don’t like that it has to be a call to trigger it. It would be nice if I saw the foul, I called it, that would be nice. This way, it’s a tough rule. I think there’s a foul on every play, so if you contest a foul call, there’s a chance somewhere he got fouled, so I don’t love it in that way.
“The other way we loved it is goaltending, I believe that’s the hardest thing to call, by the human eye.”
Rivers has said that analytics say to use it whenever, but a lot of coaches may save it for late-game situations.
Through the preseason Rivers has made one challenge call, but said that was on a dare.
“I didn’t want to [challenge], Lou (Williams) and Pat (Beverley) asked me to throw [the challenge flag, which is not what happens in the NBA but we’ll just let it go]. I told them it was a foul, they basically bet me that it wasn’t a foul, so I said ‘alright, I’m throwing the flag then.’”
It was a foul.
It’s going to get interesting to watch late-game challenges when the games start to get serious in 10 days. For now, coaches are just experimenting.