Smoke starting to clear for Clippers heading into Game 6

first_imgOAKLAND — Getting back to normal following a traumatic event is a challenge. After several days of dealing with the Donald Sterling debacle, the Clippers appear to be getting there.That much was evident by their mood at Thursday’s morning shootaround ahead of Game 6 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.“Getting better every day,” guard Chris Paul said. “You know, guys are obviously a little bit more relaxed and happy to play and ready to have fun.”Sixth-man extraordinaire Jamal Crawford spoke about the atmosphere at the shootaround. “I think that’s a clear indicator,” he said. “Whenever we’re loose and joking around and relaxed, I think that’s when we’re at our best. We’ve been able to get back to that.”Of course, if NBA commissioner Adam Silver had not socked it to Sterling the way he did, doling out a lifetime ban to the Clippers owner Tuesday, things would have been different.“Definitely,” Crawford said, “I think there has been closure the last two days and we’ve been able to move forward and just focus on the Warriors. … Yeah, I think it was a sense of relief. There’s no more wondering what’s going to happen, what could happen.”Matt Barnes echoed that sentiment.“I think the smoke has cleared, for the most part, for us,” Barnes said. “I think now we are allowed to just go out there and concentrate on being basketball players, which is what we signed up to do.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Kudos to the coachDoc Rivers has received a lot of praise for the way he led the players through this drama. Crawford couldn’t say enough about the first-year Clippers coach.“I couldn’t have imagined anybody else leading us, honestly,” Crawford said. “He’s truly more than just a coach. He’s somebody that can be a teacher in the classroom … I think he’s great, he’s unbelievable. Just being consistent, being true to his values, true to his morals and standing up for them.“From day one he’s been the exact same. There’s been no wavering, no changes, no matter what’s come up.”Painful timeA reporter mentioned to Rivers that, sure, his players have experienced pain from this episode. But what about his pain?“Well, there’s been some,” he said. “But you know, I’m the coach and I’ve gotta show them that we’re good, every day.”The Clippers weren’t good in Game 4 this past Sunday when they fell behind quickly and lost by 21 points. That, however, was little more than 24 hours after Sterling’s racist remarks toward African-Americans were released by TMZ.“That was a hard game for all of us,” Rivers said. “The game came too quick, to be honest.” Potential buyersOnce Sterling is either forced to sell the team, or does it voluntarily, there will be a long list of celebrities looking to throw their hats in the ring to buy it. Among them are boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya, as well as Oprah Winfrey and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.That says a lot, Crawford said.“It just shows that we’re a power franchise,” he said. “I think everybody wants to be a part of it. Some of the most famous celebrities in the world and they all want to be a part of it.”Paul is famous, but he can’t do it.“I don’t have enough money for it,” he said, getting a laugh out of reporters.last_img

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