Doc Rivers names multiple 'brutal calls' in narrow Game 5 loss to Spurs

ByArash Markazi ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers said there were many reasons the Los Angeles Clippers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 111-107 on Tuesday to fall behind 3-2 in the first-round series, but he said some of the "brutal calls" by officials were a factor.

"I don't complain much," Rivers said. "I thought we got some really tough calls tonight, some brutal calls. The travel on Blake [Griffin], the goaltend on Matt [Barnes], which wasn't a goaltend. You think about the playoffs, and they're single-possession games. Those possessions, those were crucial. J.J. [Redick] 's foul that got him out, J.J. didn't touch anyone. It's not why we lost, but those were big plays for us."

The Clippers were called for 27 fouls compared to 32 for the Spurs, but during the third quarter, the Spurs shot more free throws (18) than the Clippers (17) as the Spurs intentionally fouled DeAndre Jordan,sending him to the line 10 times. The Clippers missed 16 free throws while the Spurs missed just nine.

"I don't know, it's just -- listen, the refs are trying hard, too, but God darn," Rivers said. "Even [Chris Paul]'s tech, I still don't have the explanation for that, and I want to find that out because when they make a shot, you have to throw it to the ref to get the ball back, and he got a tech for it. I'm just not sure of some things."

The Clippers' players weren't as interested in talking about the officiating after the game, with some saying they would rather not get fined, but they clearly were upset by the calls made by the crew of Scott Foster, Bill Kennedy and Josh Tiven.

"I've got a team in there that played their heart out, and they're frustrated a little bit," Rivers said. "They're frustrated at themselves because, at the end of the day, it's always our fault. But they're frustrated at other stuff, too, and in a game like that with that magnitude, there should be no frustration that way at all."

While Rivers was frustrated with the officiating, he believes the referees got the offensive goaltending call right at the end of the game when Jordan's tip-in of a Griffin shot looked like it was going to give the Clippers the lead with 4.9 seconds left.

"I thought it was the right call," Rivers said. "I couldn't tell, you know, and I didn't see it. I couldn't see the video, so I don't know, but I thought it was the right call. I hope to God it was the right call. You have people in Newark [at the NBA's replay center] looking at it, so you're hoping that somebody saw it. You've got to put your trust in them."