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Mike Dunleavy getting ready for replacement referees

He had enough issues with the real ones last season. But he says team will take it easy on officials during exhibition games.

October 01, 2009|Lisa Dillman

His season finished with an ejection in the Clippers' last game, his 13 technical fouls sprinkled throughout the season, including three in one hot-headed, four-day stretch.

So is Coach Mike Dunleavy planning on dialing back the Ts?

"Hopefully, less," he said Wednesday.

It's a question worth asking, considering the NBA's continuing labor dispute with the now locked-out referees. This week, the league notified teams that it is moving forward with replacement referees.

The Clippers have their first exhibition game Sunday at Golden State.

"I'm hopeful they will get things ironed out before the season starts," said Dunleavy, who is also the Clippers' general manager. "As much as we [complain] about referees, they're clearly the best in the world and that's who we'd like to have out there."

Dunleavy was coaching in Milwaukee the last time replacement officials were used during the NBA season, 14 years ago. Naturally, there is the potential for players pushing the limits.

"You have a lot of people who potentially come in, and they don't know, I guess I would call the 'tricks of the trade,' " Dunleavy said. "I referee a lot of our scrimmages, and, as a former player, you know what guys do.

"So you tell guys, 'Forget that, I'm not falling for that. I've been there and done that. You're not getting away with that.' Of course the things that frustrate the player the most is when somebody gets away with something.

"That's what starts tempers flaring."

The issue of replacement refs will be addressed before the Golden State game.

"Our approach to it would probably be, 'OK, guys, these people are new. They haven't been here. They haven't done this, in a lot of ways. Let's cut them a little slack.' "

Well, for now. "It works for preseason," Dunleavy said. "Come regular season, that's tougher to do."

Blake watch

Having to sit and watch his teammates in training camp because of an injured left knee is like hoop torture for top pick Blake Griffin.

"He is feeling better," Dunleavy said. "He was out there yesterday before the second practice. I was upstairs there in my office and I was watching him and he was shooting."

Dunleavy's office has a clear view of the court.

"Then I saw him do things he shouldn't be doing," Dunleavy said. "Had to bang on the window and go down and explain to him, 'Look, you're out until . . . this thing needs to rest. If you jump around, it will not clear up and it's just more days [out]. Just do what you're told to do.' "

What exactly was the forbidden move?

"I saw him jump up in the air," Dunleavy said. "He jumped like five feet in the air and landed. It's not what he's supposed to be doing. He's mad. . . . He feels better like he can play. It's one of those things where we need it to clear up. It's not a big thing. If you don't let it clear up, it had the chance for deposits to build, things that we don't need to have happen, happen."

Clearly, the ultra-fit Griffin is not going to go soft in a few days.

And the knee injury helped in one way. The veterans are going light on the rookie.

"He's getting it easy right now because he won't be [playing] here for training camp and probably not for first couple of preseason [games]," said Eric Gordon, remembering his own rookie duties last season in camp. "They're going to get him at some point since he's the lone guy and he hasn't been around much. He's still going to get it."


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