Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his sharp criticism of officials that worked Game 5 of his team’s Western Conference semifinals series at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
Rivers lashed out in the post-game news conference after his team blew a 13-point lead with 4:11 to play, losing 105-104 to fall behind 3-2 in the series. The play in question was an out-of-bounds play where the ball certainly appeared to go off the hand of OKC’s Reggie Jackson with 11.3 seconds to play. Officials said the replay was inconclusive and the call made on the court stood, the Thunder retaining possession of the ball.
That led to Chris Paul’s 3-point area foul on Russell Westbrook with 6.4 seconds left, and Westbrook made all three free throws for the winning points.
Afterward, Rivers referred to the call as “brutal” and “horrendous” and suggested officials were making up for not having called a foul on Matt Barnes on said play; it did appear Barnes fouled Jackson.
Barnes had Rivers’ back at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 6 Thursday night at Staples Center.
“I think it was needed,” Barnes said. “He’s done a great job all year of being a shield for this team with all the unfortunate stuff that’s come up during the playoffs.”