But it happened in the third quarter Friday. So Rivers joked afterward that he spent the fourth quarter enjoying a bottle of top-shelf California red wine while his LA Clippers polished off the Chicago Bulls 128-121 at Staples Center.
"I don't think I've ever seen that, but I've been around a long while, so I needed to try something new," Rivers joked. "It felt pretty good, actually. The Opus [One wine] was phenomenal while I was watching the fourth quarter."
Rivers and Bulls coach Jim Boylen were each ejected with 1 minute, 14 seconds left in the third quarter after engaging in a heated exchange on the sideline. What sparked their exchange was a screen set near midcourt by Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, who was whistled for an offensive foul.
Referee Jason Phillips said the second technical fouls for each coach, which prompted automatic ejections, were for a continuation of their argument.
"We told [the coaches] that was enough, and then they continued," Phillips said.
Boylen intimated that the screen Harrell set was of the same variety that injured one of his players in the first half.
"I spoke with the officials before the half," Boylen said. "I said you have to look at that moving screen [in the first half]. I think it was an offensive foul. They came back at half and told me it was an offensive foul and they missed it, which I appreciate. Which is good officiating. And I let it go.
"Then [the Clippers] set another moving screen at half court that they call an offensive foul, and I've already got a guy sitting in the locker room with a bang that he took in the first half."
Boylen was referencing point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who left the game after taking a hard hit in the first half.
"Now they go after my other point guard with a moving screen and I don't appreciate it," Boylen continued. "I let them know I don't appreciate that. I let everybody know. I don't know how Doc got involved. He didn't think it was a moving foul. I've got no issue with Doc. I've got no problems with Doc. He's fighting for his team. I'm fighting for my team. I'm worried about my group and protecting my group."
After Harrell set his second-half screen, Rivers said he started talking to an official.
"I just said, basically, that was a clean pick, and all of the sudden I hear Boylen yelling at me, saying that we were dirty or whatever, because I guess in the first half, he set another legal pick and one of their guys got hurt," Rivers said. "I wanted to say maybe turn around and look at your guys and tell them to call out picks, but don't yell at me. I didn't say it that nicely."
Rivers continued, "And then the ref just came and threw us both out. I don't ever talk to the other coach, unless the coach talks to me. I don't think I should've been thrown out for that. I didn't instigate anything.
"I don't think one coach should ever make comments to another coach about his team, but Jimmy chose to do that. That's up to him. That's up to him."
Harrell, for his part, said Boylen didn't make any comments directed at him.
"Honestly, I didn't really think it was an illegal screen, just like the first one I set," Harrell said. "It's not up to me to call out the person that I'm screening and let them know I'm screening them. I stood there in the middle of the floor and waited until my guy drove the ball up the floor both times. They got hit with screens, that's on their bigs to call out screens.
"I didn't do anything maliciously. I didn't do anything dirty. Those are straight basketball plays. So if you want to get mad at me about that, get mad at your own big. ... He's got to let you know it's a blind screen. As far as that taking place, that's just two passionate coaches getting fired up about a current play. One coach felt like it was a dirty play, the other was doing the right thing defending me as a player and also what he felt like was a right play on the court."
Rivers and Boylen both get ejected
Doc Rivers and Jim Boylen both get ejected after they exchange words.
Rivers thought he'd try something new by getting ejected
Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers says he doesn't know why he was ejected and all he said to Jim Boylen was tell your guys to call out the screens.