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NBA's deal with referees pleases Phil Jackson, George Karl

The Lakers coach and his Denver counterpart say they're glad the regular game officials will be back on the job when the season starts Tuesday. But both coaches worry about refs' conditioning.

October 24, 2009|Broderick Turner

SAN DIEGO — They are of like minds -- at least when it comes to the NBA officials.

And after a game Friday night in which the replacement referees called six technical fouls and two flagrant fouls, coaches Phil Jackson of the Lakers and George Karl of Denver will be happy to have the veteran officials back.

When they learned before the game that the NBA had reached an agreement with its referees, who will begin work Tuesday night when the regular season starts, both coaches uttered similar comments.

"Wow, I hope they're in shape," said Jackson, whose team opens the season Tuesday against the Clippers at Staples Center.

"I wonder if they are going to be in shape," said Karl, whose team opens Wednesday night at home against the Utah Jazz.

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that a two-year collective bargaining agreement had been reached Friday with the officials.

"It takes a while to get used to this game, it really does," Jackson said. "Reflexes, reactions. They haven't been through training camp, probably. So, I don't know how happy we'll be on Tuesday night, either."

Jackson said he understands what the officials go through because he referees every day at practice.

"I know how bad it is with these guys," Jackson said with a smile, referring to his own players. "They're awful. They complain about everything."

"I'm happy that they found an agreement," Karl said. "I think we all appreciate the substitutes that gave us a good effort and good energy. But I think we all know that there were situations where we wanted the veterans back and I'm glad that they came to an agreement."

The replacement referees had a rough night Friday in a game the Lakers lost, 119-105, to the Nuggets to finish 6-2 in exhibition play.

The officials issued technical fouls to Denver's Kenyon Martin and Lakers guard Jordan Farmar in the first quarter.

Then the refs really had their hands full in the second quarter when Lamar Odom, Chris Andersen and Martin got into an exchange.

It resulted in technical fouls being called on Odom and Andersen after the three referees went to the scorer's table to check replay.

Sasha Vujacic was issued a technical foul in the second quarter, Joey Graham was called for a flagrant foul 1 for an elbow he threw at Vujacic, and the Lakers' Shannon Brown was called for a flagrant foul 1 for a hard foul on Ty Lawson.

Malik Allen was called for a technical foul in the third quarter.

Gasol's status remains uncertain

Pau Gasol's strained right hamstring hasn't improved and it has left him unsure whether he'll be ready to play when the Lakers open the season Tuesday night.

Gasol missed the last six exhibition games, the hamstring not getting any better after he tried to practice Wednesday.

"Obviously, there is a real injury with my hamstring," Gasol said. "We tried to practice a couple of days ago and it got a little worse, it got a little irritated, aggravated. So we just stepped backward. Right now we just try to let it heal so I can go back out there."

As for playing Tuesday night, Gasol wasn't sure.

"It's not out of the question," Gasol said. "We've just got to see how it feels on a daily basis."

Injury update

Andrew Bynum missed his second straight exhibition game because of a right rotator cuff injury. Jackson said Bynum indicated he couldn't play by making a slashing motion with his arm across his throat.

"So he's not feeling much better," Jackson said.


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