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Report: NBA still mulling fining Doc Rivers for criticizing referees

May 15, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

Doc Rivers was livid after the Clippers’ Game 5 loss to the Thunder on Tuesday. Among Rivers’ criticism of the officials for the infamous out-of-bounds call:

  • “We got robbed because of that call. And it’s clear. Everybody in the arena saw it.”
  • “That could be a series-defining call. And that’s not right.”
  • “C’mon, they had it in the arena. Of course, you saw it. Steve Kerr was over there shaking his head. Everybody saw it.”
  • “I love them. I think all three of those officials are terrific officials. But on that call, they got it wrong. And that’s a game-defining and possibly a series-defining call. And that ain’t right.”

Asked about the NBA’s memos admitting officiating mistakes, Rivers said, “I’ll release the memo. They blew the call. That’s the memo.”

Turns out, the memo actually said, “The play correctly stood as called.”

Objecting to a wrong call does not typically give a coach license – at least from the league – to criticize the referees publicly, but that seemed to be Rivers’ only defense. Without that, there’s little working in his favor.

So, where is Rivers’ fine?

Dave McMenamin of

As of Wednesday evening, the NBA had still not determined whether Rivers would be fined for publicly criticizing the officiating, according to a league source.

Maybe this is just the difference between David Stern’s NBA and Adam Silver’s.

I believe Jason Kidd is the only coach Silver has fined for criticizing officials so far, and maybe Silver is more lenient than his predecessor. Still, letting Rivers escape a fine here would be far removed from precedent.

I’d guess the league is debating not so much whether to fine Rivers, but how much. The NBA is also surely considering his berating of the officials on the court after the game.

I would be very surprised if the NBA doesn’t fine Rivers, but I’m already surprised it hasn’t happened yet, so who knows at this point?

  1. skids003 - May 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    Mulling? That should be a sure fine.

  2. spursareold - May 15, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    They have to fine him after saying the call was right. To not fine him is to admit they’re blowing smoke.

  3. rickditka - May 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    C’mon can’t we just not enforce rules so no one gets mad. Hasn’t Doc Rivers been through enough in his life

  4. sluggoseam - May 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    He should only be fined if they agree to remove those three refs from the remainder of the playoffs.

    • abchome - May 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      At least no more Tony Brothers for OKC games.

  5. lunasceiling - May 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Silver’s in a tough spot now, after the league released that mind-numbingly idiotic memo on the obviously blown call. After that memo, he pretty much has to fine Rivers…who everyone knows is dead right.

  6. SBoy - May 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    I bet Doc Rivers will be surprised if he does not get fined… He had a right to go off… Besides, coaches sometimes get intentional technical fouls, and thrown out of games, same with baseball managers… And in the playoffs, coaches work the officials in between games… Nothing new. Stern regime would definitely fine. Silver will see. I have no problem either way so long as he is consistent.

  7. goldmember21 - May 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Time to move on

    • spursareold - May 15, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      Uh, the issue of the fine hasn’t been resolved yet. I’ll keep eating my popcorn and watching until it is.

  8. jolink653 - May 15, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I’m surprised he didn’t get at least one technical for the way he went after the refs on the court

  9. ufools - May 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Well, they did blow something….it was either this call or the one in the GS game 1. Same exact play, but a different result.

  10. campcouch - May 15, 2014 at 11:43 PM

    Officials fall nowhere in the hierarchy of the NBA. Their job is to officiate game impartially and according to league rules. If those guys fail to do that,then why can’t a owner,coach or player complain about them? For a group of people who shouldn’t be a large part of the game,they really do impact the game in ridiculous ways. Stars get better treatment,interpretation of fouls,”swallowing” the whistle the last two minutes (because the rest of the game didn’t matter),technical for starig at the official. The game won’t turn into a brawl if refs don’t exercise “control”. Let them be criticized,maybe they’ll learn how to officiate better.

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