So, of course, the half-court timeout issue resurfaced Wednesday.
The Clippers were in town to play the Timberwolves, the first game between the two teams since the Clippers won by two points in Los Angeles on Nov. 11. With 11.8 seconds left in that game and Chris Paul leading the Clippers down the court on offense, coach Doc Rivers, unable to get official Tony Brown’s attention, ran nearly to midcourt to call a timeout, which he was awarded.
Much to Wolves coach Rick Adelman’s chagrin.
Adelman suggested at the time that Rivers should have been given a technical foul. Well, before Wednesday’s game, Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders was giving Rivers a good-natured hard time about it, which got Rivers going on the subject.
“Flip of all people,” Rivers joked. “”When he was over there talking about it, I said, ‘Flip, you coached from midcourt. Are you kidding me?’ ”
Seriously, though, Rivers said he talked with the league and came away with the impression that no technical should have been called. At the most, perhaps, a delay of game. It was a situation in which he couldn’t get Paul’s attention, didn’t like the play that was called and needed a timeout. He did admit that, had Adelman done it, he would have wanted Adelman called for a technical or thrown out.
“There is nothing in the rule book,” said Rivers, who recalled a similar situation when he was coaching Boston in the NBA Finals. “As long as you don’t run into anybody or touch anybody, there is no other way around it.”
Adelman was asked if he planned any midcourt trips. “No, I think that’s reserved for certain people,” he said. “[Rivers] has a lot more money than I do.”
On Tuesday, for the second time this season, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio spent most of the fourth quarter of a game sitting on the bench. In foul trouble early, Rubio never really got in a groove, finishing with only 19 minutes, 19 seconds of playing time.
“I think it affected me in a bad way,” Rubio said. “It can’t happen again. It got me frustrated, but it’s something I have to get through.”
Adelman has proved he is a coach who likes to go with a hot hand. But, at some point, doesn’t he want to have a finishing five he relies on at crunch time?
“Whatever works,” he said. “I think, if you have a good team and a unit that’s consistent, you want to go with those people most of the times. But there’s times you still go with [the hot hand]. [Tuesday] night I went with J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter. He had it going pretty good and wasn’t getting hurt defensively. … Usually, most of the time, you’re going to see our starters out there on the floor.”
Rubio, meanwhile, didn’t sound as if he was upset by sitting. “It’s a coach decision,” he said. “J.J. was doing a great job, something I have to accept. I have to improve and I have to be better next time.”
• According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, the Wolves lead the NBA in ticket value. The magazine takes into account the average single-game ticket price and current power rankings from websites such as ESPN.com. Wolves single-game tickets are priced 47 percent below the league average.
• Clippers reserve forward Matt Barnes (eye injury) missed the game.