Basketball / Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin (32) takes a shot against Golden State Warriors' David Lee (10) in the third quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference quarterfinals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. The Warriors defeated the Clippers, 118-97. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Amid Donald Sterling furor, Warriors rout Clippers

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson said the Los Angeles Clippers weren't the only team distracted by the fallout surrounding racially charged comments allegedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

The Warriors just didn't play like it, picking apart the protesting Clippers and taking back momentum with a dominating 118-97 win Sunday at Oracle Arena that evened their first-round playoff series 2-2.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points, hitting seven 3-pointers to go along with seven assists and seven rebounds. Andre Iguodala scored 22 points for his first 20-point game since January and added nine assists.

"We played with a sense of urgency, and I think our superstar basketball player was special," Jackson said of Curry.

Play on the court was at risk of being overshadowed after TMZ.com's release of recorded comments apparently made by Sterling to a girlfriend asking her not bring black people to games or publicly associate with them.

While there was league-wide disgust expressed and even comments from President Obama about ignoring ignorance, the Clippers tried to concentrate on Golden State through their outrage at their own owner.

"Maybe our focus wasn't in the right place would be the easiest way to put it," Clippers guard J.J. Redick said.

Before the game, the Clippers gathered at center court and removed their team-issued warmup gear, dropping it to the floor. Underneath, they wore red shirts turned inside out so the Clippers logos could not be seen. During the game, the Clippers wore black bands on their arms along with black socks to represent solidarity and unity.

"Not to be a distraction, but to say we are paying attention," explained Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, who has been asked by the NBA Players Association to address the situation.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he wasn't thrilled about the silent protest and that he didn't like the team's spirit during the game, adding that he understood and could only blame himself.

"I just know at the end of the day I've got a job to get our team right no matter what's circling," Rivers said.

The Warriors, meanwhile, blitzed the Clippers from the start and for the first time in the series got off to a strong start that gave them an advantage for the rest of the game.

Curry finally got free enough to score 17 of his points in the first quarter, hitting his first five 3-point attempts. He roared after hitting a second consecutive 3-pointer in transition to give the Warriors a 15-6 lead. Jermaine O'Neal's dunk made it a 39-point first quarter to go along with a 20-point lead.

"We tried to come out with a sense of urgency," Curry said. "That's been a big problem in the first three games, as a team we haven't gotten off well."

The key to Curry's breakthrough 10-for-20 shooting performance was new starting forward Draymond Green's ability to set screens, according to Jackson.

The Warriors' new, smaller lineup featuring Green and David Lee at center paid dividends, allowing the team to play at a faster pace and rack up eight dunks in the first half. The Warriors held a 27-8 advantage on fastbreak points and neutralized Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan, who was held scoreless.

O'Neal said he volunteered the idea to come off the bench to Jackson on Friday.

"Sitting in there and looking at tape and saying, 'Wait a minute, they're not leaving the paint with me in there. Let's go, let's play faster,'" O'Neal said of what prompted his decision.

"The only thing that I care about is winning."

Jamal Crawford came off the bench to lead the Clippers with 26 points, and Blake Griffin added 21 with Green making him work a little harder for those points. Chris Paul scored 16 points and added six assists, but also committed four of the Clippers' 19 turnovers.

"I thought they came out with the right attitude, and I thought we didn't," Griffin said.

Lee and Thompson added 15 points apiece for Golden State, which didn't allow the Clippers to close the gap to within single digits in the second half.

The series returns to Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 5 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.

"You go down 2-1, kind of feels like the world's going to end from the outside looking in," Iguodala said. "And fans are kind of like panicking, 'We can't lose, we can't lose.' But we kept our composure, did what we had to do, and we got the win tonight."

(c)2014 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)

Visit The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.) at www.insidebayarea.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

----


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus