Clippers can’t escape dark cloud, Stephen Curry in 118-97 loss at Golden State

first_imgOAKLAND — It’s tough enough to win playoff games in the NBA, more so for a team that has the proverbial dark cloud hanging over it.The Clippers on Sunday entered Game 4 of their Western Conference series at Golden State with a lot on their minds, no thanks to racist comments toward African-Americans allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling made public less than 48 hours earlier.Right away it seemed the Clippers were not as focused as they were the previous two games — both wins — because the Warriors and Stephen Curry bolted to a quick lead that twice grew to as many as 23 points late in the second quarter.Although the Clippers scratched and clawed their way back into the game by pulling within nine points with eight minutes left, that was all they had as the Warriors defeated them 118-97 before an extremely noisy crowd of 19,596 at Oracle Arena. “It was like any other game, it really was,” he said. “That’s not sugar-coating anything. Like I said yesterday, there are distractions all the time. All the time there are distractions. And you just come and play basketball.“I just thought we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. We didn’t stick to the things that had been successful in Games 2 and 3.”Curry, who made an NBA-high 261 3-pointers during the regular season, had struggled with his shot in the first three games. He broke loose for 33 points — 17 in the pivotal first quarter, after which the Warriors held a 39-24 lead. Curry made five 3-pointers in the quarter, 7 of 14 overall.“We tried to come out with a sense of urgency,” said Curry, who was complemented well by 21 points and nine rebounds from Andre Iguodala and 15 points apiece from David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.Paul blamed himself for Curry’s quick start.“It’s all on me, it’s all on me,” he said. “I let him get loose early.”Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 26 points off the bench. Griffin scored 21 points with six rebounds, Paul had 16 points and six assists and J.J. Redick had 12 points. But DeAndre Jordan, who got into foul trouble in the first half, played 25 minutes and had zero points and just six rebounds and two blocks. In a Game 3 victory, he brought down a playoff franchise record-tying 22 rebounds and blocked five shots.The Clippers also turned the ball over 19 times and shot just 42.9 percent from the field.The Warriors shot 55.4 percent from the field — by far their highest percentage in the series. They made 15 of 32 from beyond the arc for a terrific 46.9 percent.Coach Doc Rivers was asked if the Warriors’ blazing beginning happened because they were playing well or because the Clippers had their minds on other things.“I think they were playing great,” Rivers said. “I think you’ve always gotta leave it at that. Once the game starts, there are no excuses not to play, and to play like we did.”He took the heat.“That’s my fault,” Rivers said. “It really is. I’ve gotta do a better job. Whatever the distractions, whatever … I’ve gotta do a better job. I didn’t do my job tonight. I take that personally.”Rivers elaborated.“I don’t know, I just know it’s my job as a coach to get them ready,” he said. “And I just didn’t feel like I did the right stuff.”Besides Jordan, Paul and Crawford played in foul trouble. Was it because of the emotions with which they entered the game?“Listen, it could have (been),” Rivers said. “I’m not going to deny we had other stuff. Listen, I just believe when the game starts, the game starts and nobody cares anymore. Golden State surely didn’t care.”Warriors coach Mark Jackson did not believe all the controversy played a part in the way the game went.“No, no,” he said. “I think certainly everybody was affected by what took place. I don’t believe it was just the Clippers. I don’t think there was anything said directly toward the Clippers and their players. I think it was insulting to all of us. … We got blown out in Game 2. We own that.“At the end of the day we played extremely well today and we won the ballgame.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Two Warriors fans in a suite held up signs. One read, “I brought a black guy 2 the game.” The African-American fellow next to him had one that read, “I’m black.”Game 5, with the best-of-7 series tied at 2-2, is Tuesday at Staples Center.The Clippers wore black bands on either their wrists or arms, and black socks. They wore their warmup jerseys inside out, all apparently in protest of Sterling, who was not in attendance. His estranged wife, Shelly, was. She sat courtside wearing black.“We talked about it as a team,” Paul said of the black socks and bands. “At the end of the day, it had nothing to do with the game.”A reporter asked Blake Griffin how tough it was to go out and play the game.last_img

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