OAKLAND, Calif. – The Los Angeles Clippers made a silent protest against owner Donald Sterling before Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series against Golden State. The Warriors made a different kind of statement during the game.
Thus a series that has been pulled into a race-related scandal took another twist.
Stephen Curry scored 33 points, leading the Warriors past the Clippers 118-97 on Sunday to even their best-of-seven, first-round series at two games apiece.
Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers blamed himself for not getting his players ready.
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“I’m not going to deny that we had other stuff,” Rivers said. “I just believe when the game starts, the game starts and nobody cares anymore. Golden State surely didn’t care.”
The game almost became an afterthought — until tipoff anyway — after an audio recording was posted online by TMZ purportedly of Sterling making comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team’s games. The alleged comments are under investigation by league officials.
Clippers players made a silent protest against Sterling by shedding their warmup jerseys and going through the pregame routine with their red shirts on inside out. They also wore black bands on their wrists or arms and black socks.
Curry made seven three-point baskets, a career playoff high, and Golden State outshot Los Angeles 55.4 percent to 42.9 percent.
“I just thought they were the tougher team and it wasn’t even close,” Rivers said of the Warriors. “Should have been a first-round knockout.”
Jamal Crawford, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, led the Clippers with 26 points.
At Blazers 123, Rockets 120 (OT)
LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 29 points and 10 rebounds and Portland took a 3-1 lead over Houston in their first-round West series.
Nicolas Batum added 25 points for the Trail Blazers, who trailed by as many as 11 points.
James Harden had 28 points and Dwight Howard added 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets in the third overtime game of the series.
At Wizards 98, Bulls 89
Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and Washington scored the first 14 points of the game and barely looked back in taking a 3-1 lead over Chicago in their first-round East series.
John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed a mere six.
Taj Gibson scored a career-high 32 points on 13-for-16 shooting for the Bulls.
Raptors 87, at Nets 79
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry added 22 and Toronto beat Brooklyn to even their first-round East series at two games apiece.
The Raptors snapped a 13-game road losing streak in the playoffs that went back 13 years.
Paul Pierce scored 22 points for the Nets, who were 3 for 17 in the fourth quarter.