Chris Paul sat in Sunday’s post-game news conference, looking forlorn. His team had just lost Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series to the Golden State Warriors 118-97 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 Tuesday at Staples center.
The game was played in front of a wild Warriors home sellout crowd of 19,596. The Clippers always sell out with about the same amount of fans. But one has to wonder what the crowd is going to be like Tuesday with this whole fiasco involving team owner Donald Sterling and his alleged racist remarks about African-Americans that has cast a very negative pall over the organization.
Paul was asked about it.
“I would by lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what it is going to be like because our fans have been amazing all season long and, obviously, I hope that it will be the same,” Paul said. “You just never know. They’ve been amazing, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. But it’s tough.”
The Golden State Warriors public relations staff informed reporters at 9:55 a.m. Sunday morning at Oracle Arena that we should get into the pre-game interview room real early because some of us would not be able to get in if we didn’t.
Why? Because there were at least 100 more credential requests for Game 4 than there were for Game 3 on the heels of the Donald Sterling fiasco, where the Clippers owner allegedly was caught on a 9-plus-minute audio feed making racist remarks about African-Americans.
TMZ has obtained an audio feed it claims takes place between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his girlfriend, arguing about his girlfriend taking a picture with Magic Johnson at a Clippers game. The argument centered on Johnson being “black.”
Excerpts from the posted audio include:
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” Sterling said during one exchange of a 9-minute-plus video currently up on the TMZ website.
Here’s the audio from TMZ:
With all the hoopla about the 3-point shooting prowess of Golden State Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, they have not been up to par in that department in the first three games of their Western Conference playoff series against the Clippers.
Curry made a league-high 261 3-pointers during the regular season and shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc. Thompson made 223 3-pointers and shot 41.7 percent.
In three playoff games, Thompson (7 of 20) has made 35 percent and Curry has shot only 28.6 percent (6 of 21).
Furthermore, the team as a whole is shooting 27.3 percent from 3-point range compared to 38 percent during the season.
The Warriors connected on only 6 of 31 3-pointers in Thursday’s 98-96 loss to the Clippers at Oracle Arena in Oakland that gave the Clippers a 2-1 series lead. The biggest miss was Curry’s at the end.
Thompson believes that will all change Sunday when the teams square off in Game 4 at Oracle Arena.
“I would say a bad shooting night,” Thompson said, when asked to what he attributed Thursday’s 6-for-31 team performance. “I had some great wide-open looks from the corners. When I see Stephen release them, I think that’s a layup, and we just barely missed them. But great shots, we got good shots. Six-for-31 for (3s) is uncharacteristic for us. We probably hit half on Sunday.”
The Clippers, by the way, are beating the Warriors at their own game. They shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range during the regular season. They are shooting 40 percent in the the playoff series.
Jamal Crawford has been struggling with his shot for a little while now, no thanks to a strained left calf that has hampered him for a couple of months.
Crawford is 11 of 30 from the field in the first three games of the Western Conference playoff series against the Golden State Warriors – 5 of 14 from 3-point range. But he was 5 of 11 and 3 of 6 during the Clippers’ 98-96 victory over the Warriors on Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland. That was noteworthy, coach Doc Rivers suggested Friday at the team’s hotel in San Francisco.
“Well, I think he needed it because when you’re not healthy, you need the ball to go in,” Rivers said, “and so I think it was good.”
Two of Crawford’s baskets came back-to-back late in the third quarter. He made a 3-pointer and then an 18-footer that gave the Clippers a 75-62 lead.
The Clippers lead this series 2-1. Game 4 is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Oracle Arena.
Blake Griffin scored a game-high 32 points in the Clippers’ 98-96 victory over the host Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Griffin made 15 of 25 from the field.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson was impressed.
“He’s playing at a high level right now,” Jackson said. “He’s making plays and making shots and we are forcing him to be a jump-shooter and he’s making jump shots. He’s having an outstanding series capping off an outstanding year. We gave him different looks and he’s making tough shots.”
Game 4 is Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.
Griffin, by the way, played 43 minutes and 44 seconds.