Clippers’ Doc Rivers Changes Opinion on New Coach’s Challenge Rule

Doc Rivers

Getty Images Head coach Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers

Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder was a tough battle as it came down to the wire. In the end, the Clippers had a little more fight in them as they earned a 90-88 win.

Fans watching the game have different opinions on what led to the Clippers’ victory. Some may say it was Paul George’s clutch go-ahead three and others could even argue that it was head coach Doc Rivers’ challenge that sealed the deal.

Rivers did challenge a foul late in the fourth quarter with only 7.3 seconds left on the clock that could have potentially cost OKC the game. Rivers, who has been vocal about his disapproval of the new rule, finally succeeded in a challenge he called.

The challenge overturned a reaching foul on Clippers forward Maurice Harkless against Danilo Gallinari. Rivers joked after the game and gave his new opinion on the rule. He said, “I’m changing my opinion…I think the challenge is good for the league, after all.”

Doc Rivers & New Coach’s Challenge Rule

Doc Rivers

Getty ImagesLos Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers

Rivers doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to challenging calls during games. He is now 1-3 in challenges, but last night’s call played a crucial role in the Clippers’ victory. In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Gallinari was driving to the hoop when the officials blew the whistle to call a foul against Harkless, who supposedly reached in. Gallinari was shooting 93.8 percent from the line, so if the call wasn’t rescinded, it is likely he would have made both free throws, thus putting OKC in the lead.

After Rivers won the challenge, Gallinari was given another chance to win the game for OKC. He drove left around a screen and shot just inside the arc for a potential game-winner, but missed the basket.

Prior to last night, Rivers had failed to succeed in any of the challenges he has called. His most infamous challenge was on a foul called on Lou Williams in the Clippers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Lou was guarding Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe with 7:18 remaining in the fourth quarter when Bledsoe exaggerated a flop that initiated the whistle. After the replay clearly showed the flop the officials still upheld their decision. Rivers, who was not happy with the outcome, ripped into the officials after the game.

Per Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints, Rivers said was adamant it should have been overturned.

“That was awful. They should have overturned it. You have to overturn that. Unless Bledsoe fouled Lou with his face, there was no foul, it was a flop.” Rivers stated.

This certainly won’t be the last challenge Rivers calls, especially if he really has changed his opinion on the rule. The Clippers now have a 9-5 record and have earned this record with George missing the first 11 games, Leonard out for three games straight and duo not having the opportunity to take the floor together yet.

READ NEXT: Clippers’ Paul George Taunts Rapper During Home Debut