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Father-Son ejection: Clippers' Doc Rivers, son, Austin thrown out in a space of 25 seconds

Clippers lose fifth straight as Rockets get another triple-double from Harden

Fran Blinebury

HOUSTON — One night before New Year’s Eve, the Clippers made their own fireworks display a family affair.

Point guard Austin Rivers his father coach Doc Rivers were both ejected with the space of 25 seconds of the second quarter of Friday night’s 140-116 loss to the Rockets at Toyota Center.

Already playing without injured Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers lost a third starter when Austin Rivers drove in from the right side, missed a layup, then reached out with one arm that struck referee J.T. Orr, who was standing on the baseline. That drew a quick technical foul and an automatic ejection for making contact with an official.

Doc Rivers called timeout with 6:13 left in the half and went onto the court to protest. He was first given a technical foul and then ejected by crew chief Jason Phillips. It’s the second time in NBA history that a father-son duo has been tossed from the same game. Austin and Doc Rivers were also ejected Dec. 18 at Washington.

It was the Clippers’ fifth straight loss since Dec. 23.

“Austin drives to the basket and feels that he gets fouled on the play and then after finishing the play makes contact while using profanity — makes contact with official Orr and is ejected immediately on one technical foul,” crew chief Phillips told a pool report following the game.

“During the timeout Doc is complaining about the play that Austin gets ejected on and during that complaining he uses extreme profanity directed at the officials and so therefore he’s ejected on one technical foul also.”

Austin Rivers insisted that he was innocent.

“I saw the video. I didn’t do nothing wrong,” he said. “I had no idea the ref was there. I was backing up and I said, ‘Call the foul!’ and when I did it I was turning and he was right there and my elbow touched him.

“I’ve never in my career put my hands on a ref and I don’t ever plan to. He knows that if I would have pushed him, he would have gone back. He didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t mean to touch him. As he was giving me a tech, I was trying to tell him I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t do anything wrong. I stand by that. I didn’t do anything wrong.

“I was in the motion and he was getting ready to throw me out, because he grabbed his whistle. I was trying to tell him I didn’t do it on purpose. It was too late. He didn’t want to hear it.

“At worst, give me a technical. We have 7-8 players, second quarter. Man, it’s frustrating. Then I got mad. The reason I got mad is it’s the second quarter, there’s so much time left and I got to sit in the locker room and we’re down by 15-16 points and we got half our team already out and I can’t help my team.”

On the play when Rivers missed the driving layup, Mo Speights grabbed the rebound and scored on a two-foot follow shot. Doc Rivers maintained that the officials called a foul on that play and then forgot to give Speights a free throw amid the tumult that followed.

“I called a timeout because we heard a whistle,” Doc Rivers said. “That’s why you saw the whole bench up. They threw Austin out for whatever reason. But they called an and-1 on that (Speights) play. You can see it on the replay. They absolutely called an and-1 and forgot to give us the free throw. So I called the timeout to say, ‘Hey, you forgot to give us the free throw’ and they didn’t know what I was talking about…I said, ‘Come on, you guys got to know what you’re doing.’ That was it.

“Listen, I can’t get thrown out of games even though I didn’t know I was getting thrown out of that one. It’s funny. I wasn’t complaining about Austin’s play. That was gone.

“You make mistakes. It was a clear mistake on their part. But listen, they (Rockets) played great. It’s a shame that how beautiful they played will be marred by this crap.”

Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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