Playing in the NBA is tough enough. It’s even more difficult when Donald T. Sterling, longtime owner of the Clippers made derogatory remarks about African Americans in a taped telephone conversation with 31-year-old friend/girlfriend V. Stiviano that aired on the gossip website TMZ.
This was the case when the Clippers took the floor to play Golden State in Game 4 last Sunday at Oracle Arena in the opening-round of the Western Conference playoffs.
It was clear the Clippers weren’t ready to play as they were routed, 118-97, behind shooting guard Stephen Curry’s game-best 33 points.
There was talk about what the Clippers, who split the four games, would do. In the end they decided to take off their warm-up tops and toss them into a pile at center court before the tipoff, and showed their shooting shirts with the Clippers logo on the inside.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is going to address the matter this week, and it seems every current player from LeBron James to Kobe Bryant and former superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson all weighed in on the issue.
“There’s no room for Donald Sterling in the NBA,’’ said James, a small forward with the two-time champion Miami Heat before Saturday’s win at Charlotte. “We’re the model citizen of all sports around the world because we are the most recognizable figures. It’s very disrespectful and it’s appalling.”
Bryant, the injured Lakers shooting guard, tweeted: “No. He should not continue owning the Clippers. There’s no room for Donald Sterling in our league. I could not play for him.”
Johnson, a one-time Lakers Hall of Fame point guard, tweeted: “I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans.”
With a sellout crowd of 19,596 cheering wildly, the Warriors pulled ahead 15-6 with just under eight minutes left in the opening quarter after Curry, who had 17 points in the stanza, canned two three-pointers. It became 35-17 with 2:32 showing after Curry nailed his fifth of seven treys.
The Clippers trimmed the advantage to 44-32 when reserve shooting guard Jamal Crawford (team-best 26 points) drilled a three with 7:40 left in the second quarter.
Golden State center David Lee (15 points) scored with 2:35 remaining. Lee was fouled on the play and after sinking the free throw, the Warriors pulled ahead 60-38.
“We executed our offense,’’ said Curry to sideline reporter Lisa Salters at the break. “When we move the ball we’re tough.”
The Warriors, who hit 15 of 32 three-pointers, coasted to a 66-48 halftime advantage, and were in full control as the Clippers struggled to get into sync.
Golden State drilled 41 of 74 shots from the field for 55.4 percent, led 73-56 with 7:11 showing in the third quarter, and took an 89-71 lead into the fourth quarter after Curry drilled two more three-pointers.
The Clippers were in a daze for most of the contest as they converted 33 of 77 from the floor (42.9 percent), while hitting 10 of 31 from three-point range.
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin added 21 points and pulled down six rebounds, while point guard Paul tallied 16 points with six assists.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.