Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is not a fan of the NBA’s new coach’s challenge rule.
As of this season, coaches are allowed to challenge one call made by officials over the course of every contest, with certain exceptions. On Wednesday night, Rivers decided to utilize a challenge during the matchup between his Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks, and to say that he was not happy with the outcome of the challenge would be an understatement.
“That was awful,” Rivers said of the challenge decision, via ESPN. “It was. They should’ve overturned it. That’s why I hate the rule. Nobody wants to be wrong. Let me just say that. You have to overturn that.”
The call challenged by Rivers was an offensive foul drawn by Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe on Clippers guard Lou Williams with 7:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. While a charge was called on Williams, Rivers clearly thought it was a flop on the part of Bledsoe.
“Unless Bledsoe fouled Lou with his face, there was no foul on that play,” Rivers said. “… There was a flop. I think it [would’ve] been more of a chance that Bledsoe got a letter from the league about flopping than Bledsoe got fouled. That was awful. I don’t like the rule anyway. I said it up front. And now I like it even less.”
You can see the play in question below:
Upon watching the replay, it does appear as though Rivers has a point. Bledsoe appeared to exaggerate the contact from Williams, which looked mild and inadvertent. However, per the league, there must be “clear and conclusive visual evidence” to overturn a call with a coach’s challenge, and apparently the game officials didn’t believe that they had that in this situation.
Rivers is now 0 for 2 on the season with challenges, which probably adds to his negative feelings regarding the rule. Overall, coaches have gone 25 of 70 on all challenge calls this season, which amounts to 36 percent. So, while the system may be far from perfect, it does seem to be correcting some calls, which is the ultimate goal.