Rockets vs. Clips

Austin vs. Doc

Jim Rome
November 14, 2019 - 9:39 am
Doc Rivers

USA Today


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there aren’t too many rivalries left in the NBA, with the exception of Clippers-Rockets. For years now, it’s been spicy when those two get together. And last night in Houston was absolutely no exception.

Let’s get a couple of the necessary details out of the way. Houston beat LA 102-93 and James Harden had 47 points. It should tell you something that I’m saying James Harden scored 47 points and that’s not the focus of the game. Far from it.

Because with 91 seconds left in the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers got into it with the officials and then Rockets guard Austin Rivers was the third man into the fight. Except he wasn’t on his dad’s side. Quite the opposite.

There are certain moments in life as a father that you’ll never forget: first words, first steps, and of course, the first time your son calls for you to be ejected from an NBA game.

Roll it.

If you’re watching on TV, the moment Doc starts in on Tony Brothers, you can see Austin coming into the frame and throwing up the T. And he kept at it. He’s standing about three feet from Tony Brothers and he is working that T like a boss.

Some people think that Austin Rivers is an agitator and a stirrer, but he’s not. As he explained afterwards: "I was just trying to help out the situation. Listen, guys, I don't ever like to escalate anything. Y'all don't know me for that. I've always been a peacemaker. That's just 100 percent Doc's gotta keep his cool."

See, he’s just trying to help out and bring peace to the situation. Sure he’s not. He’s referring to his dad by his name. Not by his name, but by his nickname. Of course he was. Austin Rivers is already a legend from his time with the Clippers when he was jawing at the Rockets while on the bench, in a suit, and a walking boot, and getting on them so much that the Rockets stormed the tunnels of Staples to trying get to him after the game. Allegedly.

If he’s doing that in a suit and a walking boot, allegedly, I’m surprised he didn’t just grab the refs whistle and T up his dad himself last night.

Then again, he didn’t have to. He knew pops was going to get run. He could see the signs.  He’s seen it all before.

"I knew it was coming. I could see it. I've seen that look before -- many times. Once he starts blinking his eyes fast, and he starts [imitates Doc getting mad], that's when I know he is about to level up. So I just started telling Tony to get him. They got him. He's out of here."

And there wasn’t a happier person on the planet than Austin when Doc actually did get T’d up. He was clapping, laughing and celebrating. And then calling for the crowd to bring the noise as Doc was being escorted off the floor.

Again, that’s his dad. How insane is that? Almost as insane as Austin hitting his dad with a “call me” gesture as Doc nearly cleared the floor.

Austin going with a “Call me” to his dad and hopping on Twitter after the game and tweeting:

Welp.... Thanksgiving is going to be weird....

And his sister, Callie, tweeted a JC blast.

And posted a pic of himself calling for the T on Instagram. And Doc commented underneath: "hilarious.... Love you."

See, it’s all love. So don’t come in here with your “Hey Rome, I haven’t seen a father and son get that nuts at a sporting event in a long time. Regards, Tom Gamboa."

And let me say this, I am definitely Team Doc on this. The refs screwed that up. Listen to Doc lay out the situation.

"I made a challenge. They actually said I was right in the challenge, but that I took over the 30-second time to call it. So then two refs walked over to me and told me that that means you don't win the challenge. But you get your timeout back. The arena actually put the extra timeout back up on the board. So we think we have two timeouts. I think [we have two timeouts] because two refs actually walked over to me and told me, told all of our assistants and told our players."

Tony Brothers admitted that afterwards: "After it was determined the Clippers could not challenge the play, they were incorrectly informed they would retain their timeout. After [Rivers] was told that he lost his timeout during that challenge, as you can expect, he became upset, and he was given an opportunity to try to get his composure, but it didn't happen.”

And Doc will explain why that didn’t happen: "Now, listen, I'm fine with that if they had told me. But the officials can't tell me that I get my timeout back and then have me use it and then tell me after the fact, you don't have it. ... Those mistakes cannot happen. What bugged me the most is the two officials who told me, they ran over away. They just let Tony Brothers handle it. I mean, c'mon. You can't do that. You can't do that in a four-point game. That can never happen. Can never happen.”

He’s right. That can’t happen. If you screw up, own it. But if the refs did that, they wouldn’t be refs. And we wouldn’t have had that scene last night.

How big was that scene? Like I said, it overshadowed Harden’s 47 points. And it overshadowed Russell Westbrook’s comments about Patrick Beverley. Roll it.

Let me read that and before I do, let me make it clear, Pat, these aren’t my words, these are from Russ: "What'd James score? 44? 47? Pat Bev trick y’all, man, like he playing defense. He don’t guard nobody, man. He just running around, doing nothing."

Just running around, doing nothing. That got back to Pat who said: "Don't start that, don't start that. I don't care about that."

And it’s not true. I know Russ hates Pat and that goes back years, but that just wasn’t true. Harden was 0 for 6 from the floor when Beverley was on him. When Pat was allegedly running around, doing nothing, the guy doing nothing in that matchup was Harden.

Just ask Mike D’Antoni who said it was huge when Beverley fouled out: "Big, big. At least James could take the coat off of him. He was bugging the hell out of him. James was swatting, like, 'Get out of here.' Patrick's one of my favorite players. He's all in it for the right reasons. He's what you want on your team. If you want to win, you get guys like that."

That is the truth. And here’s another truth: the Clippers and Rockets are running it back a week from tomorrow in LA. And I can’t wait. Bring Russ, bring Pat, bring Austin, bring Doc, let’s do this.