The NBA’s challengers are always in the hot seat

From behind the bench, Ryan Lumpkin, a 26-year-old player development coach for the Wizards, could feel eyeballs falling on him. It was last October, at the season opener, and the Washington Star Bradley Beal was penalized for a foul after colliding with Toronto OG Anunoby. Lumpkin could feel his heartbeat increase. “My Apple Watch,” he says, “told me something was wrong.”

Matt Reynolds knows the feeling. In the second quarter of Game 3 of Boston’s Conference Semifinals series against Milwaukee, Reynolds, a Celts Assistant, watched as a referee signaled a block on Markus Smart— a call that, had it gone the other way, would have meant the third foul on Buck’s star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Karl Klask, a nuggets Assistant winces as he recalls a regular season game against them 76erif Yes, Mychal Green charged at him with twirling fingers – the universal sign to challenge a coach – because a reversal would mean a fourth foul Joel Embid. “Some of these are groundbreaking moments,” says Klask. “All you think is I better do this right.”


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