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Clippers' Dunleavy defends himself amid speculation about his job security

He says he deserves a chance to prove himself when the injured Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin return to play.

November 20, 2009|By Lisa Dillman and Mark Medina
  • Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy takes exception to a call by a referee during a break in the action against Phoenix last month.
Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy takes exception to a call by a referee during… (Christine Cotter / Los Angeles…)

Clippers General Manager and Coach Mike Dunleavy, with his team looking muddled defensively and in an opening-month spiral, on Thursday addressed the issue of his job security.

The Clippers (4-9) have won one of their last six games, and returned home having dropped consecutive games to struggling New Orleans and Memphis. They play Denver tonight.

"When's the last time you ever saw an interim coach come in and the team be successful and make a playoff run?" Dunleavy said. "It's not happening. Nobody knows these guys better than I know them.

"Give a coach a chance to coach Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin. After that, fine. Let the chips fall where they may. Other than that, you just fall to pressure."

Second-year shooting guard Gordon, who is out because of a strained groin, could return early next week, quite possibly for the game against Minnesota on Monday.

Griffin, the No. 1 draft pick overall, suffered a stress fracture of his left kneecap just before the start of the regular season, and is projected to return in mid-December. He had his second session of platelet rich plasma therapy last week before the Clippers left on their three-game trip.

After the Hornets fired Byron Scott last week, the speculative game of the next NBA coach to be fired landed on Dunleavy.

"I understand fans," he said. "I don't blame fans. They're not technically a lot of times savvy. They don't understand and they don't weigh issues the way that you weigh them. They know wins and losses.

"We've had an awful run with this, but my track record is that I have not lost with my players. I have lost without my players, but I haven't lost with my players. From an ownership standpoint, I know there's always a lot of pressure. I'll live with whatever decision our owner makes. I'll live by it."

Dunleavy added: "I'm not saying my job is secure. But I'm not saying it's not. Obviously, it's up to our owner."

Camby update

Veteran big man Marcus Camby, who suffered a lower back bruise Tuesday in New Orleans and played limited minutes Wednesday at Memphis, said he will play against the Nuggets.

"I'll definitely be out there . . . and give it a go," said Camby. "It's Denver, my former team. There's no more motivation than that."

Roster moves?

Assistant General Manager Neil Olshey said he received about 13 phone calls from agents the morning after guard Kareem Rush went down with a season-ending knee injury, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

Dunleavy said they would hold off on making a move or bringing in someone for a workout until Gordon's status become more clear.

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