Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers joked post game and said he “thought he’d try something new” by getting ejected.
Rivers argued across the scorer’s table with Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen and both coaches were tossed in a third quarter that saw L.A. have their highest-scoring quarter of the season, rallying back for a 128-121 victory at Staples Center on Friday Night.
The controversy took place when Montrezl Harrell was called for an offensive foul for trying to set a screen for Lou Williams. Boylen was livid when Ryan Arcidiacono was drilled by the shoulders of Harrell, on a play that Boylen pledged was a cheap shot.
“I was talking to the ref and I just said basically that was a clean pick and all of a sudden I hear Boylen yelling at me, saying that we were dirty or whatever,” Rivers said. “I guess in the first half we set another legal pick and one of their guys got hurt. I wanted to say, ‘Maybe turn around and yell at your guys and tell them to call out picks. But don’t yell at me, I didn’t say it that nicely.”
“The ref just came in and threw us both out. I don’t ever talk to the other coach unless the coach talks to me,” added Rivers. “I didn’t think I should I have been thrown out for that. I didn’t instigate anything.”
Nonetheless, the Clippers (40-30) took advantage of the ejections and turned it into extra motivation after they struggled to catch a rhythm in the first half.
Danilo Gallinari returned to the floor after sitting out against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night with a sore ankle. He was productive in 34 minutes of play, scoring 27 points on 10-for-14 shooting, making four three-pointers.
Harrell and Williams continued their dominating one-two punch off the bench with 27 and 26 points, while rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
The Bulls (19-51) led 63-57 at the half, behind 16 points from Zach LaVine and Robin Lopez. Kris Dunn added 11 through the 24 minutes of play and Chicago outrebounded Los Angeles 19-14.
However, everything changed in the third quarter after the Clippers had their most prolific scoring period of the season, scoring 45 points and holding the Bulls to only 21.
Leading 78-71, Gallinari scored five points in a row, Landry Shamet sank two three-pointers, Patrick Beverley converted two free throws and Gilgeous-Alexander made a lay-up to cap a 13-2 run by the Clippers with 2:00 minutes remaining.
“We just got a little sloppy and careless in the third quarter. We played 24-26 minutes of real good basketball and we have to play 48,” Boylen said.
“They applied the pressure,” LaVine said. “It was a tough game and that’s just the way it goes sometimes. We just gotta do a better job of getting stops and taking control of the game in the third quarter.”
Chicago trailed by 18 points in the fourth quarter and outscored Los Angeles 37-26, but it wasn’t enough. The Bulls offensive drought in the third quarter ultimately proved to be too much, as the Clippers held on for the 128-121 victory.