The technical fouls came in waves, a sign of the Clippers letting their frustrations boil over.
Their resolve certainly was being tested because of mounting injuries and losses, and now their self-control was being pushed to the limits because of calls they vehemently disagreed with.
They collected themselves and forged ahead for a few moments after the final technical foul in the fourth quarter, but the damage had already been done. The Clippers fell 111-103 to New Orleans on Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center before 17,624 fans. It was their fifth consecutive loss.
Austin Rivers earned the first technical foul in the first quarter while sitting on the bench and when the Clippers had the basketball.
Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell earned the team’s second technical foul in the fourth while sitting on the bench and Clippers coach Doc Rivers got team’s third technical foul in the fourth while standing on the sidelines.
“Listen, I’ll take some of the techs,” Doc said. “But sometimes the players aren’t the ones losing their composure. Sometimes it’s the other guy and in this case. … I didn’t hear one swear word by anybody and we got three techs.
“So, we’ll take the techs. But I’m just saying — refs can lose their composure as well. I’m just saying it wasn’t that bad. Both teams were complaining a lot. Sam yelled, ‘He pushed him.’ That’s it, and got a tech. So, I don’t know. If you’re going to earn a tech, we should be able to earn it.”
Did Doc Rivers earn his technical foul with eight minutes, 35 seconds left and the Clippers down eight points after Ian Clark made the technical-foul free throw?
“No, I didn’t say one swear word,” he responded. “My exact words were, ‘Tough call. I thought you missed it and you gave a guy a tech for missing a call.’ Not swearing. Nothing. That doesn’t sound like me losing my composure.”
Doc Rivers probably knows he’ll be hearing from the NBA about his comments regarding the officials and that a fine could be coming.
First, however, Doc Rivers said he and Cassell will be fined because the team has a rule of not getting fourth-quarter technical fouls. The money from Cassell and Doc will go to charity.
“We do it because we don’t want that,” Doc Rivers said.
The Clippers have lost six of their last seven games. They are in a rut and don’t have Patrick Beverley (sore right knee), Milos Teodosic (plantar fascia injury to left foot) and Danilo Gallinari (strained left glute).
So it was up to Blake Griffin (26 points), Rivers (19) and Lou Williams (14).
That wasn’t nearly enough to combat the New Orleans tandem of DeMarcus Cousins (35 points, 15 rebounds) and Anthony Davis (25 points, 10 rebounds).
“As far as techs go, I don’t know,” Austin Rivers said. “Some tough calls didn’t go our way. We felt a certain way about the way we were getting touched out there. Some games you get the whistle, some games you don’t. The past couple of games we felt like it has been rough … It’s just that we’re human. I’m not going to put it on the refs.”