*The NBA slapped a $25,000 fine on Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers today for those postgame remarks against the officials following the team’s Game 5 loss Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Rivers said the Clippers were “robbed” of a victory after a call went in favor of the Thunder with 11.3 seconds left on what he called a “series-defining play.”
On Wednesday, the league defended the call, even though it appeared on replay that the ball went out of bounds off Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson while he was defended by Clippers forward Matt Barnes. The Thunder were awarded possession after a video review.
“It was needed,” Barnes said when asked about Rivers speaking out against the call. “I think it was needed. He’s done a great job all year of being the shield for this team with all the unfortunate stuff that has come up of late since the playoffs started. He’s done a good job of being the shield and letting us just play basketball.”
Rivers has often told his players not to worry about the officials because he will speak on their behalf during games and Tuesday was the first time he felt the need to do it after the game, resulting in his fine.
“He has our back to the utmost,” Barnes said. “Just because he might not always say it in the media, we know he has our back and he’s done a tremendous job of allowing us just to focus on basketball.”
Oklahoma City won 105-104 and holds a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is tonight in Los Angeles.