During a game against the Cavaliers almost exactly one year ago, Chris Paul got called for a technical foul after he exchanged words with rookie NBA referee Lauren Holtkamp on an inbounds play. CP3 wasn’t happy with the technical foul call and, after the game ended, he ripped Holtkamp for hitting him with a T.
“The tech that I get right there was ridiculous,” he said. “I don’t care what nobody says, I don’t care what she says; that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why, uh-uh?’ And she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”
CP3’s reaction to the call caused a lot of controversy at the time. Both CP3 and his teammates—who also complained about Holtkamp’s performance during the game—said their criticisms of Holtkamp had nothing to do with her gender. But CP3’s “this might not be for her” comment rubbed many people the wrong way, and the NBA eventually fined him $25,000 for what he said about Holtkamp.
Last night, CP3 was on the wrong end of another technical foul called by Holtkamp. Unlike the call last year, which took place when the Clippers were getting blown out by the Cavs, this one came at a crucial point in a game against the Timberwolves. The Clippers were trailing the Timberwolves by two points with about 20 seconds to go in the fourth quarter when Holtkamp called a foul on J.J. Redick after he bumped Ricky Rubio as he and CP3 were trapping him near the sideline. CP3 reacted to it by clapping his hands in frustration in Holtkamp’s general direction, and she responded by hitting him with a technical right away. According to Clippers coach Doc Rivers, she explained that the technical was for an “overt clap.” You can watch it here:
The technical foul call on CP3 seemed excessive given the circumstances, and even the ESPN analysts mentioned that CP3 didn’t deserve to get hit with a T, especially at that point in the game. So after the Timberwolves beat the Clippers 108-102, due in part to the technical foul call, we fully expected CP3 to go off again. But when he got in front of reporters, he refused to take shots at Holtkamp and was very careful to choose his words wisely.
“She didn’t give me no explanation,” he said when he was asked about the call.
“Do we?” he said when he was asked about the history that he shares with Holtkamp.
“I guess it was for what I said,” he said when he was asked to guess why Holtkamp may have called the technical foul on him, before mentioning that he said “nothing.”
And while CP3 did ultimately take the blame for the technical foul—“I have to do a better job of not putting it in the hands of them to make a call like that,” he said, “so that’s on me”—he also hinted that there was more he would have liked to say but that he didn’t want to put up any more money to say it.
“The [NBA has] got my money already,” he said. “I got kids in private school.”
For what it’s worth, the Los Angeles Times polled about three dozen players and coaches recently, and they found that Holtkamp is regarded as the second worst referee in the league at the moment. But as Mark Jackson mentioned on ESPN’s broadcast of the game, the Clippers’ reputation for complaining about calls may have also come back to bite them last night. Do you think CP3 deserved to get hit with a technical foul at such a pivotal point in the game?
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[via ESPN Los Angeles]