Doc Rivers and Terry Stotts are two of the more even-keeled coaches in the NBA, so it was especially strange to see the them get into a bit of a tiff last night during Trail Blazers and Clippers’ preseason finale.
A little backstory: The Blazers exploded right out of the gate, racking up a 35-point lead in the first half. A meaningless preseason blowout seemed well under way…until the Clippers finally woke up. They cut the lead down to 20 by halftime, then down to single digits by the fourth, and when the final buzzer sounded, the Clippers walked away victorious 115-109.
The teams traded banter and glares throughout the game. C.J. McCollum stared down DeAndre Jordan after Jordan had been barking in his ear, leading to a heated exchange between the pair during a timeout. The Clippers bench got rowdy during their comeback, to the point where Stotts told them to sit down. Rivers took umbrage with Stotts talking to his players, and let him know his feelings on the matter as he approached Portland’s bench.
Both Rivers and Stotts commented on the exchange after the game, per Jason Quick of CSNNW
“I have a lot of respect for Terry,” Rivers said. “I just don’t think you ever talk to the other team’s players, and that’s what I told him. In the first half, when they were rolling and their players were jumping up, throwing towels, I sat there and took it.
“So, when our guys got excited – I just think if you have a problem with the other team’s players on the floor celebrating or whatever, you just talk to the ref, and he tells them,” Rivers said. “I don’t think it’s your job. That’s what I was telling him. Maybe not that way … I should have done it better.”
Stotts, meanwhile, didn’t realize Rivers was shouting at him.
“Was he yelling at me, or the refs?” Stotts said. “He was yelling at the refs most of the night. Um, I don’t know. You will have to ask him.”