Clips’ Rivers rips challenge rule after foul stands

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  • Ohm YoungmisukESPN Staff Writer

      Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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LOS ANGELES — Eight games into the season, Doc Rivers says he is done with the newly implemented coach’s challenge rule.

A frustrated Rivers vented about the rule after he lost a challenge in the fourth quarter of the LA Clippers129-124 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

The call in question was an offensive foul drawn by Milwaukee point guard Eric Bledsoe on Clippers guard Lou Williams with 7:18 left and the Bucks up 108-101. Williams was driving past Bledsoe when the Bucks’ point guard snapped his head back following possible contact with Williams’ arm.

Rivers said he thought Bledsoe pulled a fast one on the officiating crew.

“That was awful,” Rivers said afterward. “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. Unless Bledsoe fouled Lou with his face, there was no foul on that play.”

After official Courtney Kirkland called the foul on Williams, Rivers signaled for the play to be reviewed. The play was replayed over and over from different angles on the video screens, and the Staples Center crowd booed about there being any contact between Bledsoe’s face and Williams’ arm.

Williams and Rivers pleaded their case with official Zach Zarba. Coaches can use one challenge per game, regardless of whether it is successful, and a team must have a timeout and call one after a challenged play.

There must be clear and conclusive visual evidence to overturn a call. Through Wednesday night, there have been 70 challenges across the league this season, with 25 overturned (36%). Of those challenges, there have been 13 offensive fouls challenged, with only three overturned (23%).

Rivers is 0-for-2 in coach’s challenges this season, after he also unsuccessfully challenged a call with 33 seconds left in a 130-122 loss at the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 26. Five Clippers opponents have challenged calls, with only one successful overturn for the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter on Nov. 3.

“There was a flop,” Rivers argued Wednesday night. “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.”

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