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Preview: Clippers (57-25) at Warriors (51-31)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Date: May 01, 2014 10:30 PM EDT
  

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Relaxed, relieved and ready to resume their championship chase, the Los Angeles Clippers tried to get back some sense of normalcy Wednesday after a week unlike any other in NBA history.

At least as normal as things can get right now.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the chaos caused by owner Donald Sterling's racist remarks is still far from over. And while NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Sterling from the league for life and asked owners to force a sale of the franchise, Rivers said plenty of uncertainty will remain until a change is complete.

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'We're not through this. We're still in it,' Rivers said on a conference call with reporters, again shielding his players from the spotlight of the media that surely would've swarmed the team's practice facility.

Rivers has always told players to avoid outside clutter - 'keep your boxes empty,' he often says - no matter the issue. Now Rivers wants his team to welcome the challenge of overcoming all the noise.

The Clippers can start by taking another step forward on the court when they try to eliminate the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday night in Oakland. Los Angeles leads the first-round series 3-2 and is on the brink of just its third playoff-series victory since Sterling bought the franchise in 1981.

'Like I told my guys, this is going to be with us,' Rivers said. 'Let's just keep winning and let's deal with it. But it's not going anywhere, and you just got to embrace that, that this is part of this year's playoffs for us.

'We don't have a manuscript or a rule book on how to deal with each issue that's going to come up,' he said. 'There will be more issues that we don't know about. Guys, we just got to try to keep our focus as much as we can. And if anybody is struggling with that, I told them to just let me know and we can find a way to deal with it individually.'

While questions still remain - notably how Sterling will respond to the league's ruling - Rivers said not much has changed with the team's day-to-day operations. He is still overseeing the basketball side and, as far as he knows, team President Andy Roeser is running the business operations.

'The league is working through the rest,' said Rivers, who added that he would not be among the long list of suitors lining up to buy the team.

Sterling was fined $2.5 million Tuesday - the maximum allowable under the NBA constitution - after audio recordings surfaced on TMZ and Deadspin over the weekend of him telling a female companion not to bring black people to games or post pictures with them online. Silver also urged the NBA's board of governors to compel Sterling to sell the Clippers, and if three-fourths of the other 29 owners agree, the league's longest-tenured owner almost certainly will be forced to give up the team.

Players said the ruling providing some relief, and it showed in the Clippers' 113-103 win over the Warriors on Tuesday night when they got back to the free and spirited style that carried them to 57 wins and a second straight Pacific Division title.

'It just seemed like a burden lifted off of everybody and we could just get back to basketball and worry about what we needed to worry about,' Clippers point guard Chris Paul said.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson said his players have been just as drained the past five days by the Sterling scandal. But he downplayed the impact the ruling had on either team.

'We don't want an excuse, but it obviously, I don't like the way we competed. And that wasn't us for whatever reason,' Jackson said.

Focus will be the key for both teams again.

The Warriors have won 16 of their past 19 home games against the Clippers, including a 118-97 whipping Sunday after the Sterling saga began. But star Stephen Curry, who scored 17 points in the first quarter alone in that game, is coming off one of his most perplexing playoff performances.

Curry had a career-high eight turnovers and attempted just 10 shots - making five of them - in Game 5 in Los Angeles. He finished with 17 points and four assists, but he was glad to be back in Oakland on Wednesday and away from all the distractions.

'I think we'll be able to play free enough to just go out and have fun and make plays and understand if we play the way we're supposed to, we'll be all right,' Curry said.

Playing on the road might not be all bad for the Clippers, either. The game allows the team to escape the attention in Los Angeles, Rivers said, and put the focus back on basketball.

'As far as things being back to normal, I doubt that that is true,' Rivers said. 'But I did feel like once the game started and the game went on, we were back to playing basketball as a group.'

---

AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Warriors at Clippers
Sat, Apr 19 Final 109 to 105
 Recaps
GAME 2
Warriors at Clippers
Mon, Apr 21 Final 98 to 138
 Recaps
GAME 3
Clippers at Warriors
Thu, Apr 24 Final 98 to 96
 Recaps
GAME 4
Clippers at Warriors
Sun, Apr 27 Final 97 to 118
 Recaps
GAME 5
Warriors at Clippers
Tue, Apr 29 Final 103 to 113
 Recaps
GAME 6
Clippers at Warriors
Thu, May 1 Final 99 to 100
 Recaps
GAME 7
Warriors at Clippers
Sat, May 3 Final 121 to 126
 Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 LAC  -110   PK   210.5 
 GSW  -110   PK   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 LAC  +100   +1   211 
 GSW  -120   -1   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 LAC  44%   39%   58% 
 GSW  56%   61%   42% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 NBA HEAD TO HEAD
 Apr 29, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 GSW 103 Over: 216 
 LAC 113 Cover: 3 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 27, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 LAC 97 Over: 215 
 GSW 118 Cover: 22.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 24, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 LAC 98 Under: 194 
 GSW 96 Cover: 1 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 21, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 GSW 98 Over: 236 
 LAC 138 Cover: 32 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Apr 19, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 GSW 109 Cover: 11.5 
 LAC 105 Over: 214 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Mar 12, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 GSW 98 Under: 209 
 LAC 111 Cover: 6 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Jan 30, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 LAC 92 Under: 203 
 GSW 111 Cover: 13 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Dec 25, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 LAC 103 Cover: 1 
 GSW 105 Over: 208 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 31, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 GSW 115 Over: 241 
 LAC 126 Cover: 5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Jan 21, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 LAC 99 Over: 205 
 GSW 106 Cover: 11 
 Tools:   Recaps

 NBA PREVIEWS
 Thursday, May 1
 
    Pacers at Hawks
7:05 PM EDT
    Thunder at Grizzlies
8:00 PM EDT
    Clippers at Warriors
10:40 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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