LOS ANGELES — Stephen Curry and David Lee and their Golden State Warriors teammates weren't happy with the way they played in a 113-103 loss Tuesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers.
But they were happy they did play.
Tuesday morning, the question of whether or not they would take part in Game 5 of their series against the Clippers in L.A.'s Staples Center was very much up in the air.
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As they went through a morning shootaround, they talked about what they might do if NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed down what they considered a light sentence to Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racially insensitive comments.
"It was kind of a wait-and-see situation," said Curry, the Warriors' All-Star point guard. "We wanted to know exactly what kind of sanctions (Silver) was going to hand down. We had our opinions on what they should be and kind of a level of acceptability."
Silver's penalties were harsh, with a lifetime ban from the NBA accompanied by a maximum fine of $2.5 million. But the Warriors had their idea of what they would do if that level wasn't met.
They would not play.
"We knew as players we had the opportunity to have a voice and if it came to that, I think we were all committed to it," Curry said.
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What were they going to do? Not show up? Go through warm-ups and then walk off the court?
"We had talked about it," Curry said. "As the day went on, we probably would have gotten more concrete about what would have gone down. But the way the conversations were going on early in the day, I'm pretty sure that might have happened had Adam not done such a great job of speaking for the league and making a stand.
"He definitely did a great job of putting the hammer down strongly for his first ruling as commissioner. It kind of took all the decisions of a boycott or doing anything drastic out of the question because of how well he handled the situation."
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Lee, the veteran forward-center, was also prepared to sit out the game.
"As a team, we were really interested in seeing what the league was going to do," he said. "I think if the league did something like say we're just going to give a small fine and wait to see what happens or something along those lines, I think it would have put it more on our hands and the Clippers hands as players to do more tonight.
"But I think the league did the most it can do at this point to try to clean up the situation at hand."
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The Warriors talked about matching the Clippers' intensity early, knowing that the crowd would likely be extra supportive in trying to support the home team.
But they were outscored 31-21 in the first quarter, as their four turnovers in the period were turned into 11 points by the Clippers. That set the tone as the Clippers led the rest of the way in a 113-103 victory and a 3-2 series lead.
"They did a good job of taking our turnovers and getting easy buckets," Lee said.
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The Warriors also had a tough time with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who had a huge night with 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots.
"He was a much bigger contributor than he should have been," Lee said. "Put that on me."
They were ready to put Game 5, and all the controversy and emotion of the past several days, behind them.
"This is a great series between two competitive teams, and it's just too bad that we're talking about (Sterling) instead of the playoffs," Lee said. "It's such a special time of the year. We're here to play basketball, and that situation had no bearing on tonight's game."
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After Donald Sterling's lifetime ban was announced, Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said the team can now "begin the healing process" but the struggle with racial discrimination is far from over. VPC