This is the time of the year for many high school classes to hold their class reunions. Of course, they are tied to Homecoming Football games. My high school class is no different. We had our 60th class reunion last Saturday. It is always fun to get together with the people with whom you spent your high school days. If you are involved in sports like I was, it is great to renew ties with those teammates. When you get to my age, the memories of those who are no longer there loom larger. Three of my former teammates come to my mind. I spent a lot of high school practices, games, and meets with these 3 classmates—Roger Hunt, Bill Drockelman, and Ralph Goldsmith. I am sure your class reunions bring back similar memories.
LOS ANGELES >> After the Clippers’ win Wednesday night, Austin Rivers uttered the words that operate a special frequency best heard by public relations people.“Dude, they come at us,” Rivers said of the NBA’s officials. “They really do. And, we put it on ourselves. It started with us. I’ve only been here for so long, but I saw it when I came here. They don’t like us. And, it’s clear as day.”As Rivers spoke calmly, one of the Clippers’ PR staffers walked by and tapped him on the back, a gesture reminding him to tread carefully (or to not tread at all). But, Rivers, never short on words, kept going.But, the more he spoke, the more responsibility he put on himself and his teammates to better their relationships with the NBA’s officials, a long-standing problem the Clippers, Rivers said, created. The Clippers didn’t agree with the ruling that Jordan’s hard foul against Marquese Chriss warranted ejection. They didn’t think assistant coach Armond Hill deserved a technical foul. They didn’t like some of the continuation calls and the way they were allowed to defend Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe.“I don’t think we over-complained,” Doc Rivers said. “There were a lot of touch fouls on our guards tonight – some of the fouls, I thought, were really tough for us. Our whole guard crew was in foul trouble. But, overall we did a nice job.”For the Clippers, doing a nice job means not getting any technical fouls – and outside of Hill, they didn’t get any.“I thought we did a good job of having an initial reaction and then letting it go,” Blake Griffin said. “You’re not going to always have the perfect reaction to a call you don’t think went your way, but the key is to not let it affect you. “But, as Jamal Crawford noted, the Clippers are “an emotional team.” And, curbing that emotion is way easier said than done.“We have no control over the calls. We have to fight through it. I don’t understand what help it does to complain. It just makes them more pissed at us,” Austin Rivers said. “It’s easy to say that, but in the moment, we’re so competitive. We want to do well. And, we’re not getting calls, it makes it worse. We’re frustrated. They’re getting frustrated. It’s a cycle. That’s how it started. “And, by acknowledging it and facing it, they’re hoping to end the cycle.After the win, Crawford was asked about the officiating, and the veteran broke into a wry smile.“It’s a difficult job,” he said. “Nobody’s perfect, and they’re doing the best they can do.”And as he spoke, not a single staffer in the room even flinched.Dunkin’ DeAndreEven if Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban might disagree, DeAndre Jordan’s the type of guy to keep his word.For years, Jordan has been asked about participating in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest. And, for years, Jordan has said he’d only do it if he made the All-Star team.And with the Western Conference frontcourt loaded with stars, it looked like his word wouldn’t be tested.But with Jordan being selected to his first All-Star Game this season, his old promises got tested.Thursday, the NBA announced Jordan would be in the dunk contest, competing against Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, Phoenix’s Derrick Jones Jr. and Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III.“I think half his dunks are dunk-contest dunks,” Doc Rivers said before Thursday’s game. “What I’m thinking about is, is he gonna’ need someone to throw him a lob to do them or is he going to do them off the dribble? That’s the big question.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “We made that happen. We dug our own grave with them. We started it. We complained and did a lot,” he said. “”At the end of the day, they’re human. If someone is (expletive) at you all the time, eventually, you’re going to be like, ‘What the hell?’ It’s not that they’re doing illegal stuff like making the wrong calls on purpose, but if it’s a 50-50 call, we’re not helping ourselves. We’ve got to be better.“…They’ve got to know we’re trying to be better.”On Jan. 4, Doc Rivers, the Clippers head coach, led off his postgame press conference by isuuing a statement, vowing that he would be better in how he deals with the referees. The hope, he said, is that his team would follow his example because little else has stopped them from griping and, more importantly, being consumed with the battles for calls.Since then, two Clipper players have been called for technical fouls – Austin Rivers and DeAndre Jordan (three times). Jordan got called for a technical in the first quarter Thursday.A day earlier against the Suns, the team showed signs that they’re committed to progress.