CP3 says referee ‘got me back’ with delay tech

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul says the officiating crew in Sunday night’s 108-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers “got me back” after assessing Paul and the Thunder two delay-of-game-violations in the first half.

The calls resulted in a technical foul two nights after Paul pushed to have the Minnesota Timberwolves whistled for a second delay-of-game violation late in Friday’s win, which helped change the outcome of the game.

“They both was on me, wasn’t it?” Paul said after Sunday’s win. “That was good. He got me. He got me back.”

In this instance, Paul was referring to referee Brian Forte, who whistled the Thunder for both delay-of-game violations. The first came in the first quarter with 53 seconds left — a violation Thunder coach Billy Donovan is still unclear about — while the second violation came with 2:31 left in the second quarter resulting in a technical foul.

Paul could be heard by television microphones yelling at Forte after the call was made.

“You’re trying to prove a point,” Paul said. “You’re going to be on SportsCenter tonight, good job! You’re going to be on SportsCenter tonight.”

The entire episode caused both Donovan and Paul to smile a little bit after the game while describing the events leading up to the technical.

“The first one I’m not really sure about,” Donovan said. “The second one, the explanation was they stepped on the floor with their sweats on. I didn’t see it … as they were stepping on the court they were taking their sweats off. That’s what was said — but I’m going to see. I don’t want to say yes or no, I just want to see. Because I hadn’t had a chance really to see it.”

In Paul’s mind, there was no doubt why the violations were assessed.

With 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation of Friday’s win over the Timberwolves, Paul noticed Timberwolves forward Jordan Bell about to check into the game with his shirt untucked. Veteran official Scott Foster, a noted nemesis of Paul’s over the years, whistled Bell for the delay of game as Paul made the rarely called violation clear.

After the game, Foster told a pool reporter that the officials also noticed the violation and the clock did not factor into their decision to assess the second delay of game, and, thus, a technical free throw.

With the Thunder trailing 121-119, Thunder big man Danilo Gallinari hit a free throw, to cut the lead to one, Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns split a pair of free throws, and then Thunder center Steven Adams heaved a cross court pass to Dennis Schroder for a layup that tied the game at the buzzer and sent it into overtime.

When asked if Sunday’s calls were in retaliation to his outspokenness about Bell’s untucked jersey on Friday night, Paul didn’t hesitate.

“What you think?” Paul said. “What you think? (Forte) got me. I learned something too. That you can’t have your shooting shirt and your pants on when you’re checking in. They said if I’d had just one of them on — so you learn something new. They got me.”

Paul asked reporters if a pool reporter asked about Sunday night’s ruling, but a Thunder official said a request had not been made.

“Y’all didn’t ask them in the pool little thing?” Paul said. “Nobody did the pool (report) after the game. Don’t they do that? Somebody got the rule them from them, so I’m learning. I’m learning. He got me. He got me, but we won so I’m cool.”

Paul demurred when asked if he had any previous history with Forte.

“I’m out,” Paul said while walking towards the exit of the Thunder’s locker room. “I’m going to save my money, man. I got fined a lot of money last season.”

Donovan admitted that the idea of the officials trying to payback Paul for his push to get a delay of game called on the Timberwolves late Friday crossed his mind after the technical foul was assessed.

“Obviously I’m looking there a little bit just in all honesty I was,” Donovan said. “I asked (Forte) if that was the case — were they being a stickler? And they said no, and that’s the rule and they were following it. I didn’t see either one of the delays so I don’t want to comment on it, but once I see it I’d be more than happy to comment on it. But that kind of crossed my mind a little bit, yeah. And ok, if that’s the rule and we’re not following the rules, then we should be given the delay of game. And I’m ok with that; I just didn’t see it to say yeah that was a good call or not, so we’ll see.”

Paul got some form of revenge on close friend, and Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony, later in the second quarter. After Anthony argued about a called, he clapped his hands in front of referee Scott Twardoski, as Paul called for Anothony to be hit with a technical. Anthony was Paul went to the line to hit the free throw.

“I done got techs for that,” Paul said. “If you clap at the ref it’s supposed to be a tech. He got it … I knew that one. I’m still learning. I’m still learning, guys.”

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