OAKLAND, Calif. -- Doc Rivers usually is prepared with a witty response even if he doesn’t know the answer to a question, but on Sunday all he could do was shrug his shoulder when asked a simple question.
Is your team ready to play?
“I really have no idea,” Rivers said. “I mean, honestly, just being honest, I don't know. You know, from a coaching standpoint, you're concerned. They've been pulled in a million directions over the last 24 hours, and so that's a fact.”
A day after players met to voice their anger and consider a boycott in response to racist comments purportedly made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, they took the court to play Game 4 of their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors.
Before the game began, however, they gathered at center court and took off their Clippers' warm-up shirts and left them there. They then warmed up wearing inside-out red shooting shirts that did not display the Clippers name or logo. During the game, players wore black arm or wrist bands and black socks.
“We're going to be one. Everything we do, we do it together,” Chris Paul said. “Stay together, play ball, we worked hard to be where we are, can't imagine going through this with anyone leading us other than Doc.”
The Clippers looked out of it early as the Warriors took a 23-point lead in the second quarter before Los Angeles stormed back and made it a nine-point game before eventually losing 118-97.
How it happened: It would be natural to say the Clippers were distracted early, but the Warriors were also hot, hitting 7-for-11 from beyond the arc in the first quarter after going just 6-for-31 in Game 3. The Warriors played their best game of the series and shot nearly 60 percent from the field in the first half. It would have been hard for the Clippers even without the off-court distractions to beat the Warriors when they’re shooting that well.
What it means: The series is now tied 2-2 heading back to Los Angeles for a pivotal Game 5. If the Warriors win, they would be in a position to close the series out at home in Game 6. As most predicted before the series began, this one looks like it will go the full seven games.
Misses: The Clippers were a united team before the game, but they were clearly not ready to play when the ball was tipped. Six Clippers had at least two turnovers while five had at least three. The Clippers turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 26 points from the Warriors.
Stat of the game: After the Warriors went 6-for-31 from 3 in Game 3, they shot 15-for-32 in Game 4.
Up next: The Clippers will take on the Warriors in Game 5 of their first-round series Tuesday at Staples Center.