Referees union defends Lauren Holtkamp after criticism by Chris Paul

Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving
Chris Paul , left, and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving battle for a loose ball Thursday night.
(Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

The union representing NBA referees defended Lauren Holtkamp on Friday after Chris Paul criticized some of her calls during the Clippers’ 105-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

Lee Seham, general counsel of the National Basketball Referees Assn., said in a statement that Holtkamp’s calls were “justified.”

Paul was dealt a technical with 10 minutes and 17 seconds left in the third quarter after the Clippers tried to quickly inbound the ball after a Cavaliers free throw.

“We’re trying to get the ball out fast every time down the court and when we did that she said, ‘Uh-uh,’ and I said, ‘Why uh-uh?’ and she gave me a tech and that’s ridiculous,” the Clippers point guard said. “If that’s the case, then this might not be for her.”


Paul is president of the NBA Players Assn. and will probably be fined for his criticism of an official.

Holtkamp, 34, is in her first full season as an NBA referee. She’s one of two current full-time female officials in the leauge. Before working for the NBA, she had six seasons of NBA D-League experience, including work in the 2013 and 2014 D-League Finals. She also has refereed in the WNBA, college and FIBA.

“The NBRA deplores the personal and unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul,” Seham said. “She belongs.”

In total, the Clippers were dealt five technical fouls on Thursday.


DeAndre Jordan said the technical he received from Holtkamp less than a minute after Paul’s was for saying, “Yeah!” after scoring.

“She said she thought I was talking to her and she made a call,” Jordan said, “The other refs, I talked to them and they disagreed with it, so hopefully it will be rescinded.”

Matt Barnes was ejected from the game in the third quarter. He received his first technical foul early in the period for stripping the ball from Love after a foul had been called on Barnes. His second came about three minutes later, for what he said was telling officials, “You don’t just give them the game,” after they called a foul on the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford for running into LeBron James.

“It keeps happening,” Barnes said. “Some of these, I earn, some of them I don’t. But it’s crazy to get a technical foul for pulling your arm away and getting a technical foul for [saying] ‘Don’t just give them the game.’ If you can’t play with emotion, I don’t see how you can play.”

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