Lou Williams, Clippers baffled by refs' controversial call in loss to Celtics

Darren Hartwell
NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON -- Doc Rivers was trying to explain why Gordon Hayward's grab of Lou Williams should have been a shooting foul when the culprit himself strode by in the TD Garden hallway.

"Gordon, you know you fouled him (in the act of shooting)," the Los Angeles Clippers head coach called out.

"It was close," Hayward responded. "It was close."

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Rivers' reply: 

"When an NBA player says, 'It's close' ... "

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Here's what prompted Rivers' call-out: With 23.6 seconds left in the first overtime of Thursday's game and the Celtics up by three, Hayward tried to use Boston's last pre-bonus foul on Williams before the Clippers guard could hoist a 3-pointer.

Hayward's foul came a hair late, though, and when Williams drained the 3-pointer, referee Dedric Taylor signaled an "and-one" to set up a potential four-point play.

Head referee Scott Foster called an officials' conference from the other side of the court, however, and after a brief discussion, Hayward's foul was ruled as "on the floor," which meant no go-ahead four-point play for Williams.

The 33-year-old guard nearly blew a gasket on Taylor after the verdict and was no less incensed after the game.

"(Taylor) said, 'They had a foul to give,' " Williams said. "And I said, 'Duh. I know that too. That's why I went into my shooting motion.' "

In fact, Williams said he saw Celtics coach Brad Stevens let his players know they had a foul to give, which prompted the wily veteran to tell his teammates to go into their shooting motion as soon as they caught the ball.

"Sometimes in this league you understand the rules, so you try to beat the rules," Williams said. "And I think we're taking away some of that to end the game with anticipating the calls and anticipating the scenarios.

"They're up three points, we know they're going to take a foul. ... That's a heads-up play. It wasn't a swing-through. It wasn't any of the things they've banned. So, I don't understand why it wasn't a good bucket."

Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell was a bit more blunt.

"It was a bad call, man," Harrell said. "I'm not trying to say anything to get fined or anything like that but ... it's a four-point play all day long."

That call itself didn't sink the Clippers -- Landry Shamet drilled a game-tying 3-pointer seconds later to set up double overtime -- but it did mar what was an otherwise thrilling night of basketball that ended in a 141-133 Celtics win.

Lou Williams, Clippers baffled by refs' controversial call in loss to Celtics originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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