Clippers' Dunleavy, Sterling mend fences during phone call

LOS ANGELES -- After griping about each other through the
media earlier this week, Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy and owner
Donald Sterling spoke on the telephone Wednesday and apparently
patched things up.

"Everything's good," Dunleavy said before the Clippers played
Sacramento. "I had a good conversation with [Sterling] today, and
overall I think I made him feel comfortable and he made me feel
comfortable. Anyway, it's all good and we're going forward."

Two days earlier, Sterling -- who normally doesn't give
interviews -- told the Los Angeles Times: "I want to make L.A. fans
proud of this team, but if [Dunleavy and general manager Elgin
Baylor] can't make it happen, then I have no choice but to make
changes ... That's why I'm paying [Dunleavy] the money I am."

Dunleavy fired back in Wednesday's paper -- saying he was
"shocked" by Sterling's remarks and added that firing him "would
be the biggest mistake [Sterling] ever made. It's his team and he
can do whatever he likes ... but look, you can find any coach you
want, bring him in here and run the situation. But I don't think
they are going to do as good a job as I do."

On Wednesday, Dunleavy insisted he and Sterling have no problems
with each other.

"We're both frustrated about the losses and we both spoke out
of frustration, but we're on the same page," Dunleavy said. "I
know he committed and wants to do whatever it takes to win, and I'm
certainly committed. I feel much better about where we are."

Dunleavy, who is in his fifth season with the Clippers, was in
the final year of a four-year, $10 million contract when Sterling
gave him a four-year, $22 million extension on Dec. 13, 2006. The
Clippers were eliminated from postseason contention on the final
day of last season. Dunleavy is still owed another $17 million by
the club.

Although the Clippers have played all season without Elton Brand
and Shaun Livingston and appear to be a long shot to make the
playoffs this season -- they entered Wednesday 10 games behind
Golden State for the eighth and final Western Conference berth --
Dunleavy isn't worried about his job status, particularly after
this latest chat with Sterling.

"Basically, he said he's a long-term guy, he believes in me and
he's got confidence in me, and I feel the same way about him.
That's why I took the job," Dunleavy said.

About 2½ hours before tipoff, a couple hundred season ticket
holders showed up and were given a pep talk by Dunleavy,
play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler and team president Andy Roeser.
Dunleavy told the fans: "Anybody who gives up their tickets is
making a big mistake. You're sure to regret it."