Sports Out West

Clippers say Donald Sterling saga wore on team at season’s end

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors

The Los Angeles Clippers faced the difficult task of reflecting on their failed season just one day after falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of their home crowd in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. 

According to ESPN.com, a myriad of events, most notably the Donald Sterling story that seemed to drag on throughout the playoffs, took its toll on some players, including J.J. Redick:

“As humans, you have an emotional capacity for so much,” Redick said. “Unfortunately, I think between that [Sterling situation], the Warriors, that series, Game 7 of that series, the way we won Game 4 [against the Thunder], the way we lost Game 5 … all of that combined took a lot out of us.”

That much was apparent in the Clips’ play over the last five games, where they lost four after beginning the series with a 122-105 Game 1 rout over the Thunder. The questions about Sterling never seemed to go away. The effect was clear as the Clippers struggled to keep up with Oklahoma City’s intensity.

“I don’t want to keep answering questions about it,” said Blake Griffin.  

An otherwise stellar season saw the Clippers best a franchise record for regular season wins (57) set just last season. The way things ended with all of the distractions surrounding the team make this a forgettable postseason. 

Still, there’s plenty of good to take away. For example, Griffin had his best season to date and was a legitimate component of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player discussion. DeAndre Jordan also had his best season.

Sometimes to win it all, everything has to go right in addition to having talent. The Clippers couldn’t catch any breaks both on and off the court. 

 Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.