NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Coach Pop talks dirty

Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with referee Marc Davis during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors on May 14, 2017. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This year, the NBA has a new hotline where players can call to complain about NBA referees. And you better believe that's still open for players to blow off steam, lobby for fouls, and get advice on pregame outfits. It's like a call center that only outsources people to Seacaucus, New Jersey. Each week, we’ll present a look at the hotline’s responses, which are about as authentic as LeBron James' family. We know when that hotline blings, that can only mean one thing: an NBA coach wants some nasty.

Gregg Popovich vs. Zaza Pachulia

Dear Coach Popovich,

We received your multiple messages, texts and about Zaza Pachulia. However, the league has decided not to assess a flagrant foul after the fact. Nor will the NBA imprison Mr. Pachulia for manslaughter, nor force him to play Game 2 wearing a hairshirt, nor flay him, nor stretch his body on a rack, nor pile a series of progressively heavier stones on his chest until he confesses to being a dirty player.

Here is a question. Do you remember a player named Bruce Bowen? He played for you for eight years, won three titles, got his number retired? Got fined for kicking Wally Szczerbiak in the face, and kicking Ray Allen in the back? Continually stepped under Vince Carter’s feet as he landed? Kneed Steve Nash in the groin during a playoff game? Then tripped Nash later in the same series? You might remember the trip, because it happened the same game Robert Horry knocked Nash into the scorer’s table.

When the league called Mr. Bowen about his questionable jump shot closeouts, here’s what you said: "The people who cry about it are just frustrated about having to go against Bruce. I told Bruce, 'You be Bruce Bowen. You're the best (expletive) defender in this league. You will NOT change the way you play defense.”

Coach Popovich, we have the receipts. Your guys play dirty and you enable that behavior. Don’t call this hotline and talk dirty to us anymore.

Spuriously yours,

NBA Referee Hotline

Bradley Beal vs. Gravity

Dear Mr. Beal,

Honestly, we’re embarrassed for you that you called to complain about not getting a call on this play. After your earlier flop, we figured the internet had shamed you out of your flopping ways. But you’re still at it, flopping around like a goldfish that fell out of its bowl. Like a big-budget action movie starring Tim Riggins.

We would suggest that Scott Brooks sit you down, as a punitive measure, but that would mean that a Wizards backup would have to play. And most of those hobos, drifters, unemployed derelicts, and Trey Burkes on that bench fall down even more than you. Granted it’s due to malnutrition, vertigo, or that they’re wearing newspapers on their feet instead of shoes. We still don’t know why Ernie Grunfeld assembled his second unit purely out of players he found at a Greyhound station. He knows that his bench players don’t have to have been sleeping on an actual bench, right?

Our condolences on the Game 7 loss. You played an excellent game, and next year, we’re sure your team will land on its feet.

Sincerely yours, NBA Referee Hotline

Kawhi Leonard vs. Zaza Pachulia

Dear Mr. Leonard,

We were somewhat confused by your terse message after Game One, explaining that you didn’t think Mr. Pachulia committed a dirty play, and urging no further discipline. That’s not how a superstar is supposed to react! When you’re a superstar, you don’t display sportsmanship in your interviews. You shade the referees. You complain about unfavorable treatment. You lobby the league to suspend opposing players. You don’t acknowledge that basketball is a fast-paced game and it’s difficult to judge intent!

This is why you’re not going to win an MVP over James Harden or Russell Westbrook, Kawhi! Look at what happens when a defensive player makes contact with Harden when he’s shooting. He crumples to the ground like he’s been shot, and lays face-down without moving. Because he knows the best way to get a foul call is to make the crowd think he actually died on the play. You even left the court without a stretcher, much less a wheelchair! And you barely grimaced! Russell Westbrook makes a mean frowny face on every single play!

Also, when you turn your ankle stepping on David Lee and your team is up by 25 points, take five freaking minutes and tape your ankles.

Get well soon, NBA Referee Hotline

Brad Stevens vs. Washington Wizards Timekeeper

Dear Coach Stevens,

You were correct in asserting that too much time ran off the clock at the end of Game Six. Kelly Oubre fouled Kelly Olynyk with 2.7 seconds on the clock, yet the clock ran down to 1.7. Clearly, the Washington timekeeper let a little more time run off the clock than he should have in order to help the home team. That, or he used to be a timekeeper at a bar, so he can't help himself from nudging clocks towards closing time.

Coach Stevens, we believe the real mistake here was your choice of play. Your team desperately needed a basket in the fourth quarter, and you went to Kelly Olynyk. Backup big man Kelly Olynyk? To score points in a playoff game? That’s just ridiculous. There’s a reason those people on the internet said you were coaching for your job.

Come on man! NBA Referee Hotline

Sean Keane is a comedian residing in Los Angeles. He has written for "Another Period," "Billy On The Street," NBC, Comedy Central, E!, and Seeso. You can see him doing fake news every weekday on @TheEverythingReport and read his tweets at @seankeane. In 2014, the SF Bay Guardian named him the best comedian in San Francisco, then immediately went out of business.

QUIZ: Name every first-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs since 1987

In 1987, the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA draft lottery and selected a player first overall who would change the shape of the franchise. The team hit big on the lottery once in 1997 and selected an even better player first overall who would go on to be one best in the game. Since 1987, the Spurs have had only 23 first-round draft picks - demonstrating the team's lasting success. How many can you name?

Clue: Year - draft number

1987 - 1
David Robinson
1987 - 23
Greg Anderson
1988 - 10
Willie Anderson
1989 - 3
Sean Elliott
1990 - 24
Dwayne Schintzius
1992 - 18
Tracy Murray
1994 - 22
Bill Curley
1995 - 29
Cory Alexander
1997 - 1
Tim Duncan
1998 - 24
Felipe Lopez
2001 - 28
Tony Parker
2002 - 26
John Salmons
2003 - 28
Leandro Barbosa
2004 - 28
Beno Udrih
2005 - 28
Ian Mahinmi
2007 - 28
Tiago Splitter
2008 - 26
George Hill
2010 - 20
James Anderson
2011 - 29
Cory Joseph
2013 - 28
Livio Jean-Charles
2014 - 30
Kyle Anderson
2015 - 26
Nikola Milutinov
2016 - 29
Dejounte Murray

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