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Doc Rivers reveals what happened with referees that got him ejected late vs. Rockets

Doc Rivers, Clippers, Rockets

L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was ejected from Wednesday night’s 102-93 loss to the Houston Rockets. The explanation he received for it wasn’t a good one either.

With 4:35 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Clippers leading 86-85, Rivers called a coach’s challenge after an out-of-bounds call resulted in a turnover.

After review, the officials determined that James Harden knocked the ball out of bounds and was the last player to touch it, not JaMychal Green. The ball, however, was awarded to the Rockets out of the timeout for reasons that weren’t clear.

Then with 1:31 remaining and the Rockets up 95-88, Rivers called a timeout, unbeknownst to the Clippers coach that it was his final one of the game. On the broadcast, it appeared like Rivers was losing his mind, but JaMychal Green, Lou Williams, and other Clippers players were in the mix as well.

Lead official Tony Brothers then hit Rivers with two technical fouls and threw him out of the game.

After the game, Rivers was asked about the end-of-game situation that got him kicked out, and he didn’t hold back.

“The refs screwed up,” Rivers told reporters. “I made a challenge. They actually said I was right in the challenge, but that I took over the 30 second time limit to call it, so then two refs walked over to me and told me that that means you don’t win the challenge, but you get your timeout back. The arena actually put the extra timeout back up on the board. So we think we have two timeouts. I think that because two refs actually walked over to me and told me, told all of our assistants and told our players — that’s why everybody reacted, I had a timeout, that I had an extra timeout.

“I think I have two timeouts, so I call it. When we come out of the huddle, Tony Brothers walks out and says, ‘you have no more timeouts.’ I said, ‘what do you mean we have no more? I still have one.’ He says ‘no, when you called that timeout, you lost it.’ Now, listen, I’m fine with that if they told me, but the officials cant tell me that I get my timeout back and then have me use it, and then tell me after the fact you don’t have it. That was big. Those mistakes cannot happen.”

The ejection, in addition to Patrick Beverley’s ejection for looking at Brothers, turned a seven point game into a 10 point game with less than two minutes remaining.

“What bugged me the most is the two officials who told me [I got my timeout back], they ran away, they just let Tony Brothers handle it. That’s… I mean… Come on, you can’t do that. You can’t do that in a four-point game. That should never happen. That should never happen. We didn’t deserve to win with the way we were playing right now offensively or defensively, but mistakes like that cannot happen on this level. That was awful. And the response is to throw me out? I didn’t swear, I just said, ‘this is nuts.’ That’s a bad response as well. It’s disappointing.”

Although Rivers’ frustrations are understood given the circumstances, it would surprise no one if the NBA came out on Thursday afternoon and fine the head coach for his comments about the officiating crew.

Rivers and the Clippers will unfortunately have no time to dwell on this game as they’ll travel to New Orleans tonight to take on the Pelicans Thursday night.