The Los Angeles Clippers should be focused on taking a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series with the Golden State Warriors. Instead L.A. will take the court in Sunday afternoon’s Game Four at Oracle Arena with the scandal of team owner Donald Sterling hovering above.
An audio recording allegedly of Sterling was released on Friday, in which the Clippers owner told a girlfriend not to bring black people to games.
As expected, the NBA and its players came out against Sterling’s alleged comments, but rather than focus on what was supposed to be one of the most exciting first-round series in these playoffs, the Clippers and Warriors instead must ward of this distraction.
There were reports that some of the Clippers were contemplating a boycott of Sunday’s game, but for now it appears the game will tip-off as scheduled.
Stars from across the league stated their disgust towards the comments, and supported the Clippers in this trying time.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who is also an NBA Players Union representative, released a statement condemning the remarks, while Miami Heat star LeBron James also spoke out and said new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should take swift and decisive action.
The NBA also released a statement on Saturday, defaming the comments and iterating the league will fully investigate the matter.
Silver took over for David Stern back in February, and he reportedly arrived in Oakland before Game Four on Sunday to likely speak with Sterling about the matter.
The Clippers should be riding high after beating Golden State in two straight games to take over the series 2-1 before it heads back to L.A. for Game Five on Tuesday. The star front court tandem of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have dominated the paint for the Clippers, taking full advantage of the absence of Warriors injured center Andrew Bogut.
Griffin’s scoring 27.7 points per game in the series, and Jordan ripped down 22 rebounds and swatted five shots to go along with this 14 points in Game Three’s 98-96 victory.
Meanwhile the Warriors looked poised for an upset run over the favored Clippers after Game One’s victory, but other than point guard Stephen Curry the offense has severely lagged in the last two games.
Twenty-six turnovers in Game Two led to a 40-point blowout loss for the Warriors, while guard Klay Thompson only managed four shot attempts.
Thompson recovered for 26 points in Game Three, but as a team Golden State went 6-for-31 from three-point range and shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line.
Time: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ABC
Betting Odds: Clippers -2.5
Over/Under: 209.5 points
Prediction: Clippers over Warriors 104-101