Clippers’ Doc Rivers renews his call for a coaches’ challenge provision on late-game calls by refs

 Doc Rivers

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers paces the sideline during the loss to the Nuggets on Wednesday at Staples Center.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Another admission by the NBA that officials had erred on a key late-game call that went against the Clippers has left Coach Doc Rivers frustrated yet again.

Rivers suggested once more Friday that the NBA should adopt a rule that would allow coaches to challenge officials’ calls late in games — similar to what NFL coaches do when they throw a “challenge flag” to dispute a call.

Rivers said the NBA’s competition committee has discussed the possibility of using a challenge flag.

“I have been pushing for a flag for a year now,” said Rivers, who is on the competition committee. “We should have a challenge flag. That’s the third time this year now that [the NBA] has come back and said that it was a bad call [against the Clippers]. It didn’t do anything for us. It really doesn’t.”


Rivers spoke a day after the league said an offensive foul called on the Clippers’ Jeff Green with 30.4 seconds to play Wednesday in an 87-81 loss to Denver instead should have been ruled a foul by the Nuggets’ Danilo Gallinari. The charging call negated a basket by Green, who also was denied a free-throw attempt that could have resulted in a three-point play that would have pulled the Clippers to within 85-84.

In its last-two-minute report on officiating Thursday, the NBA said Gallinari “does not establish a legal guarding position prior to the contact with Green.”

“It’s a tough one to me because it’s not like the officials are trying to make a mistake. But they do at the end of games,” Rivers said. “We’ve had two [previous] clearly game-defining calls at the end of the game and then this one [against Denver]. That’s a three-point play, which would have put us down one. . . . That was a big call. Those are tough calls. We want to get it right at the end of the day, and the officials want to get it right.”


Rivers mentioned a one-point loss to Oklahoma City on Dec. 21, when a disputed call that went against the Clippers late in the game was deemed incorrect by the league the next day.

“So stuff like that matters,” Rivers said. “And we as a league, we just want to get it right and everyone does, including the officials.”


Rivers said Austin Rivers, his son and backup point guard who is out with a broken left hand, could return to play “in the next seven days.”

Twitter: @BA_Turner