LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Referees for the NBA are calling foul on critical comments made by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul about first-year referee Lauren Holtkamp.

Paul was assessed with a technical foul in the third quarter of the Clippers’ loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday after the point guard was trying to inbound the ball quickly after a made Cavs basket and was prohibited by Holtkamp.

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Following a free throw by Cleveland, the Clippers were attempting to inbound quickly when Holtkamp stepped in. Paul questioned her and was slapped with the technical.

“The tech I got was ridiculous,” Paul said. “That’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a technical. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court. When we did that, she said, `Uh-uh.’ I said, `Why uh-uh?’ and she gave me a technical.

“That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her,” said Paul.

Lee Seham, general counsel of the National Basketball Referees Association, said in a statement his group reviewed Holtkamp’s calls and “deems them fully justified.”

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“Furthermore,” he added, “the NBRA deplores the personal and unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul. She belongs.”

A statement posted Friday on the Twitter page for the National Basketball Referees Association, which represents the NBA’s referees, defended Holtkamp’s calls as “fully justified”.

“After review, the calls made by Ms. Holtkamp are fully justified. We deplore the unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul. #shebelongs” the tweet read.

The 34-year-old Holtkamp spent six seasons in the NBA Development League, working its championship series the last two years. A former player at Division II Drury University, she also officiated nine NBA regular-season games before her promotion to the full-time staff.

Violet Palmer is the league’s other female referee, having worked about 900 regular-season games during a career that’s now in its 18th season.

Paul, who also serves as the head of the National Basketball Players Association, is expected to be in the lineup Friday when the Clippers face the Toronto Raptors.

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