With an escalating feud festering the last two days, Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy and owner Donald T. Sterling could not even agree that they had talked to clear the air Wednesday.
Dunleavy said he held a telephone conversation with Sterling prior to the Clippers' 111-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in their largest winning margin of the season as Chris Kaman had 20 points and 21 rebounds.
"Basically, he said he's a long-term guy and he believes in me and he has confidence in me and I have confidence in him," Dunleavy said. "We are both frustrated because of the losses."
"We had a good conversation and, not to say much more about it, but we are on the same page."
When asked during halftime at Staples Center if they had patched things up, Sterling said: "He said what?" before shaking his head, shrugging his shoulders and declining to address the situation further.
After the game, Dunleavy cleared things up, saying he called Sterling three times and spoke to his wife, but did not reach the owner. In fact, he said he had spoken with one of the team's high-ranking officials, who told him that the owner and the coach shared the same goals and should bury the hatchet.
The brouhaha originated Monday when Sterling openly voiced his displeasure over his team's plight and talked openly of changes among his top management -- mainly Dunleavy and longtime Vice President of Basketball Operations Elgin Baylor.
Dunleavy fired back his response the next day, expressing that he was shocked by the comments.
He invited Sterling to get rid of him and said no coach in his situation could perform better, considering their franchise player, Elton Brand, and promising point guard, Shaun Livingston, are sidelined because of serious injuries.
At the morning shoot-around, Dunleavy said he was looking to put the situation behind him.
"Obviously, there was a little bit of frustration and that was vented, but it doesn't keep me from doing my job or working as hard as I work, my interactions with players or anything else. To me, it's over. It's done with."
Baylor declined to address the situation, saying, "At this point in time, I have nothing to say."
Veteran point guard Sam Cassell said the whole issue should have been handled in-house, instead of publicly.
"What transcribed between him and Donald happened between him and Donald. I think it could have come out a different way," Cassell said.
"When you are frustrated, you say frustrating things. You say things you may mean, but you may not want to say it at that particular time. I understand both their points. Mike as a coach and Donald as an owner."
"He's a competitor," Cassell added of Dunleavy. "He's got pride. Every coach has an ego and he has one, which is cool, and he just struck back. Hopefully, it's over now."
The conflict overshadowed a well-rounded performance for the Clippers on the court. They won for the third time in five games, beating a Kings team that enjoyed its best win in more than two years a night earlier, 128-94, over the New Jersey Nets.
The Clippers (13-25) also beat the Kings in Sacramento last month, one of their five road victories this season.
"No [Mike] Bibby. No [Kevin] Martin," Dunleavy said of the previous win and the Kings who were injured at the time. "They had everybody else, but they had a couple guys out who kind of evened things out for us."
They had Bibby and Martin this time, but it didn't matter with Kaman, Al Thornton (23 points, nine rebounds) Corey Maggette (21 points), and Tim Thomas (17 points) all having strong games.
They now leave for the road with a back-to-back beginning Friday with the New Orleans Hornets, followed by the Memphis Grizzlies.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun