Doc Rivers wants the NBA to adopt the NFL coach’s challenge, with a twist. Instead of a red flag, coaches would toss a red beanbag onto the court any time in the last two minutes that they felt referees had missed a call.
“I’d put mine in a sock,” Rivers said Wednesday.
The Clippers coach would have littered the court with beanbags toward the end of his team’s 100-99 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Rivers said he would have challenged the play in which the Thunder’s Dion Waiters grabbed J.J. Redick’s jersey before Redick caught a pass and attempted a three-point shot; the play in which the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook undercut Chris Paul and made contact with Paul’s left leg as Paul drove for a go-ahead layup; and the play in which the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka set an illegal screen that allowed Kevin Durant to get free for the game-winning jumper.
The NBA acknowledged missing all three calls Tuesday in its Last Two Minute Report, though that served as no consolation to the Clippers.
“Those non-calls or calls or whatever you want to call them, lost the game for us,” Rivers said. “If we had a coach’s challenge the last two minutes of that game, we win the game.”
Rivers is a member of the NBA’s competition committee, which he said has discussed a coach’s challenge.
“It’s not gone too far,” Rivers said of the discussions, “but I think it will eventually.”
Rivers would like the challenge to be similar to the one used in the NFL, where teams lose a timeout if the coach’s challenge is unsuccessful and the call is not overturned. If the call is overturned, the team keeps the timeout.
Rivers praised the NBA for implementing replay in the final minutes of games and said that additional changes take time. The league started releasing its reports on calls at the end of games last season in an effort to increase transparency about its officiating.
Not that it’s done much to soothe players after controversial finishes.
“You can go through 48 minutes and write ‘INC’ or ‘CNC’ all you want,” Redick said, referring to the abbreviations for an incorrect call and a correct non-call, “but it doesn’t really change anything, so I don’t see a point in it.”
Mr. Smith goes to the bench
Rivers wouldn’t say whether forward Josh Smith would play Friday against the Lakers after being held out against the Thunder in Smith’s first healthy scratch since he sat out to rest in the final game of the 2012-13 regular season. But Rivers acknowledged that Smith was taking too many jumpers for the coach’s liking.
“I’m not going to get into everything,” Rivers said, “but that’s part of it.”
Smith has shot poorly from everywhere except at the rim this season, making 36.4% of his shots from 3 to 10 feet, 12.5% from 10 to 16 feet, 33.3% from 16 feet to the three-point line and 31.5% from beyond the arc.
Against the Thunder, Cole Aldrich received the minutes usually allotted for Smith, but it remained unclear whether Rivers would be willing to play the 6-foot-11 Aldrich against smaller lineups.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin was given Wednesday off to rest but is expected to practice Thursday and play against the Lakers on Friday. … Paul and several other NBA stars will appear in a commercial aimed at ending gun violence that will air during the nationally televised slate of games on Christmas. The ad, sponsored by the organization Everytown for Gun Safety, features Paul saying, “My parents used to always say, ‘A bullet doesn’t have a name on it.’” The ad is unusual because it aligns the NBA with one side of a polarizing national debate over gun control.