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Mike D’Antoni jokes about first-ever coach’s challenge, potential job security

Mike D'Antoni, Rockets

Mike D’Antoni became the first NBA coach to ever make a coach’s challenge during Thursday’s 109-96 preseason victory over the LA Clippers in Honolulu.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was in disbelief as D’Antoni visibly twirled his right index finger and challenged an offensive foul called on his star player James Harden with 2:02 remaining in the second quarter:

“In a preseason game?” Rivers hollered, laughing from the opposite bench, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

“Somebody’s gotta be first,” D’Antoni replied.

D’Antoni challenged the call as the Rockets were in the bonus. If correct, the call would have gone in Harden’s favor, sending him to the free-throw line for a pair. The Rockets coach admitted there will be an adjustment period when it comes to figuring this out:

“It’s easy to screw up,” said D’Antoni. “It’s going to be a little adjusting. It takes a while to get used to. We don’t have the regular flow of information that we’ll have in a regular game. They’ll tell me before that I should go out there and challenge.”

Rivers was aware he had a contest pending with D’Antoni, but admitted he forgot after trying to coach his team, sans Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, to a preseason victory:

“Mike was saying he wanted to be the first one so he beat me to the draw,” said Rivers. “We were going to have a contest, Mike won. I forgot about it to be honest.”

Mike D’Antoni might have whiffed on the first-ever coach’s challenge, but he seemed upbeat enough to even joke about his stay in Hawaii and even his job security, which will be a topic of attention this season:

“It could be by Christmas time I come back out here,” the coach said with a smile, pointing to his “lame duck” status after contract negotiations with the Rockets broke down earlier this summer. “You just never know.”

The Rockets moved to 2-0 in preseason play behind 37 points from James Harden.

The post Mike D’Antoni jokes about first-ever coach’s challenge, potential job security appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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