Bulls Coach Fred Hoiberg played 10 years in the NBA and has been coaching for six. During those 16 years he has never been ejected for a game so when he received a tech and his first career-ejection on Saturday night against the Clippers, you know he had a right to be pissed.
The drama started with 20 seconds left in regulation, with the Bulls down by two. Jimmy Butler was called for a questionable foul on Blake Griffin.
“I thought Jimmy made a great defensive play,” Hoiberg said. “Blake caught it at about the free throw line. And before he put it on the ground, he was at the top of the arc. I thought Jimmy did a good job crawling up into him. I’ll have to go back on film and look at it. Jimmy, I thought, battled him and made a heck of a play, but they gave him the call. You got to respect it.”
Then with nine seconds left of a four point game, after a missed three by Dwyane Wade, referee Marc Davis called a tech on Taj Gibson, which was followed by a tech on Hoiberg and his ejection.
“Marc is, one thing about Marc, he’s a good ref sometimes,” Gibson said. “Everybody’s not perfect. Calls are gonna be made. Players gotta play the game. Can’t blame Marc for that one mishap, we had a whole game to try to win the game. But that play was so intense and down to the wire, that’s why everybody was so (ticked) off.”
J.J Redick hit both of the tech free throws and one of two free throws for a foul, giving the Clippers a seven point lead and eventual win.
After the game, Dwyane Wade, who had a game-high 28 points for the Bulls, talked about his conversation with Davis.
“As a veteran guy, I was just trying to explain to Marc the situation. It’s a very emotional game. You’ve got two teams giving everything, especially us at that moment; that was a tough call. And at that moment, Marc has to be the bigger person and not walk to the technical fouls. He has to walk away, and that was what I was explaining. As someone who’s been in this league for a long time, I understand. You got to give us emotion, you got to give us that. And that’s all I was doing. I had a good, respectful conversation at that moment, but the damage was done, for sure, by then.
“But just trying to get our point across for our team. We don’t have bad guys. Fred ain’t yelling at nobody. He wasn’t yelling. I was right there and I barely heard him. So it’s just something that Marc has to walk away from.”
As bad as the refs were late in the game, a lot of credit needs to go to the Clippers, especially Mo Speights. The former Warrior scored 11 of his season-high 16 points in the 4th quarter, which saw the Clippers outscore the Bulls 30-18.