The hardest game may be over for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Amidst news about the team’s owner and the finalized punishment to him, the Clippers played well enough to take a 3-2 series lead over the Golden State Warriors.
Owner Donald Sterling dominated the headlines after a recording of racist comments leaked out. The league’s punishment for Sterling was a lifetime ban to the NBA and a potential force buy-out of the team.
Throughout the game, the PA announcer summed up the feelings of the league, “We are One.” With news of the punishment to the team’s owner in print, the Clippers played with their fan base in a unified game. Despite all the distractions and the headlines away from the actual basketball game, the Clippers took the Warriors’ best shot and perhaps took full control of the series.
The win bodes well for the Clippers’ playoff chances. The bulk of the horrible story is done and the Clippers exited Staples Center with the series lead. While it is purely speculation, this team will play better with the worst of the distractions behind. If they could win with Sterling’s story looming on their backs, any game or matchup is possible. The Clippers even won without a great effort or game from their star player, Blake Griffin. Before game five, Griffin was averaging close to 27 points per game.
As for the Warriors, they lost momentum. After a strong effort to tie the series, at home, it was not met in game five. A drop-off from Stephen Curry and role players like Harrison Barnes wasted the efforts of David Lee and Andre Iguodala. The other big issue for the Warriors?
Clippers’ center, DeAndre Jordan was a monster yet again with a 25 point, 18 rebound game. It’s yet another factor in favor of the Clippers. Game five may just be the nail in the coffin and a call to the rest of the league to watch out.
Photo Credit: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
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