After a Game 5 loss to the Thunder that featured less than stellar officiating, Los Angeles Clippers’ Head Coach Doc Rivers had little problem speaking his mind to reporters:
“We got robbed because of that call,” Rivers said in his press conference. “It’s clear. Everyone in the arena saw [the ball go out of bounds off of the Thunder.] That’s why everyone was shocked when they said ‘Oklahoma City’s ball.’ That was our ball…The same thing happened to us in the Golden State series when [the referees] tried to reverse the call. They didn’t even want to look at the replay because they knew it was a foul.”
Rivers may have a point, but regardless the NBA has fined him $25,000 for publicly complaining about the officiating, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reported.
This is a situation NBA players, coaches and fans have hopefully not heard the end of. Three times this postseason an official missed a foul call at a crucial moment in a game that led to a player throwing the ball out of bounds.
Since fouls are not reviewable, officials are forced to give the ball to the team who committed the foul, or at least they should be according to the rules. However, this is not always the case. When Chris Paul was fouled and lost the ball out of bounds, the officials did what they were supposed to do. They reviewed the call, realized it was a foul, but gave the ball to the Warriors because Chris Paul had touched the ball last. While this is unfair and seems wrong (which it is) it is what the officials are supposed to do under the current NBA rules, or lack there of. However, when Matt Barnes fouled Reggie Jackson causing the ball to go out of bounds, the officials gave the Thunder the ball. Last night we saw a similar play. LeBron James committed a foul that caused the ball to go out of bounds yet the Nets retained possession even though they had touched it last.
The NBA released a statement following the Warriors and Clippers game acknowledging that the officials had indeed missed the foul call but were correct on awarding the Warriors with possession. Then we saw the officials make the opposite ruling in the Clippers game against the Thunder, the NBA once again said the officials handled the situation correctly because their was not conclusive evidence to overturn the call.
It’s time for the NBA to stop worrying about a coach critiquing the officials and to start listening to advice on how to fix their problem. The NBA is overly concerned with protecting the reputations of officials who don’t do their jobs well instead of keeping the officials accountable for their mistakes. Teams keep their players accountable for their play on the court. It’s time for the NBA to do the same with their officials.
Sports-Kings’ Pass the Pill NBA Contributor @THEMarkPace