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Clippers Take Some Pressure Off Lynam : Beleaguered Coach Told He Can Finish Out the Season, at Least

March 01, 1985|SAM McMANIS | Times Staff Writer

Late Wednesday night, after the Clippers had lost their fourth straight game, General Manager Carl Scheer called Coach Jim Lynam at home and gave him some good news for a change.

According to Scheer, he told Lynam that, barring extraordinary circumstances, Lynam would not be fired before the end of the season. Lynam's contract runs out then, and Scheer said that would be the time for him and Lynam to discuss the situation.

"I told Jimmy, once and for all last night, that he doesn't need to worry," Scheer said. "Both Jimmy and I have survived all the speculation about his job status. I don't see a situation where I would make a change with 23 games left. There just doesn't seem to be anything that would precipitate it."

Speculation about Lynam's job arose in late December, when the Clippers' lost seven straight games. Since then, the Clippers have suffered through another seven-game losing streak and now have lost six of their last seven, keeping the speculation alive.

Going into Saturday night's game against Golden State in Oakland, the Clippers are 22-37 and in fifth place in the Pacific Division. If the playoffs were to start today, they would not qualify.

The Clippers have lost 15 of their last 18 games, including 10 straight on the road.

Lynam was asked after Thursday's optional practice if he felt relieved by his conversation with Scheer.

"In a sense, yes," Lynam said. "It was a nice gesture on Carl's part. But, to be honest, I have been able to divorce myself from talk like that. If you're in this (profession) long-term--and I want to stay in it long-term--you know that these things are going to come up. Very few guys who stay in coaching long-term don't go through this at some point."

Scheer, who has a one-year contract himself, said he has received no pressure from either club owner Donald Sterling or President Alan Rothenberg to fire Lynam.

"(But) there's been pressure on me to be more forceful in the day-to-day (involvement with the team)," Scheer said. "Mostly, it's been pressure from Donald. Not specifically in words but in casual conversations. However, it's my philosophy to let my coaches coach. I have a definite idea on how the game should be played, but our coaches have the authority on day-to-day coaching."

Scheer said he believes the Clippers will qualify for the playoffs.

"I'm an optimist," he said. "March is our month. We got rid of ugly February (3-9) and I think we can win 13 or 14 games of the (17) games we have in March with Bill (Walton) coming back."

The Clippers, who have 17 games in March, will probably have Walton back Saturday night for only the second time in 13 games. Walton practiced Thursday and his injured right ankle felt strong, according to Lynam.

"He won't play 38 minutes (Saturday), but we'd like to have him go about two stints for about 15 to 20 minutes (total)," Lynam said.

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