Clippers close emotional day with win, lead series 3-2
LOS ANGELES — Hours after owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life, the Los Angeles Clippers returned to an energized Staples Center and beat the Golden State Warriors 113-103 on Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round playoff series.
DeAndre Jordan had 25 points, a playoff career high, and 18 rebounds while Chris Paul scored 20 points.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers high-fived each of his players near the bench in an uncommon display of excitement as the final seconds ticked away. Jamal Crawford of the Clippers hugged and slapped hands with fans at courtside on the way to the locker room.
"I thought they were great," Rivers said of his players. "I thought they were tired a lot, and that was the result of the last few days. I just thought they had great mental toughness. They wanted to will this game, and I'm just proud of them."
Commissioner Adam Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million and called on NBA owners to force him to sell the team for making racist comments.
The Clippers were greeted with a standing ovation when they came out for pregame warmups. They kept on their Clippers warmup suits, unlike Sunday in Oakland, when, in a silent protest against Sterling, they tossed their sweatsuits bearing the team logo onto the court and went through their pregame routine with their red shirts on inside out.
Players from both teams wore black socks.
With so many sponsors bailing on the Clippers, there were few advertisements on the video boards. A few non-digital signs were covered over.
The PA announcer constantly reminded the crowd, "We Are One."
One fan wore a T-shirt that read: "Sterling Out Equality In."
The Clippers are on the brink of just their third playoff series victory since Sterling bought the team in 1981. Game 6 is Thursday night in Oakland.
Crawford scored 19 points for the Clippers while Blake Griffin had 18 and Darren Collison 15.
Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 21 points. David Lee and Andre Iguodala scored 18 apiece while Stephen Curry had a so-so game with 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
Griffin scored eight points in the first 6 minutes of the fourth quarter. Jordan made six of eight free throws in the final period.
With the Clippers leading by three points early in the fourth quarter, Griffin scored two quick baskets to make it 83-78.
He made a turnaround jumper to push the lead to 90-81 with 7 minutes to go.
Curry stole the ball and hit a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 70-69 lead late in the third quarter.
Paul answered with a 3-pointer to put the Clippers up 72-70. Crawford then poked the ball away from Curry, broke free, got the pass for a dunk and a four-point lead with 1:11 left.
Paul hit another 3 with 1.1 seconds left in the third for a 77-72 lead.
Jordan had four blocks and Paul had five steals.
WIZARDS 75, BULLS 69
CHICAGO — John Wall finished with 24 points and Nene scored 20 as Washington clinched the first-round series in five games.
Bradley Beal scored 17 points, and the fifth-seeded Wizards advanced in the postseason for just the third time since the 1970s. They will meet Indiana or Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It's a huge step for a franchise that hadn't been to the postseason since 2008, but with Wall and Beal leading the way, they won 44 games during the regular season.
The Wizards turned a halftime tie into a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and hung on down the stretch.
Chicago's comeback chances took a big hit early in the final quarter when Taj Gibson crumbled to the court clutching his left ankle after he tried to block a layup by Wall with the Wizards up by six points. He had to be helped off the court and did not return.
Wall and Nene, back from a one-game suspension for grabbing Butler's head, both had seven rebounds. Marcin Gortat had two points and 13 rebounds.
GRIZZLIES 100, THUNDER 99, OT
OKLAHOMA CITY — Mike Miller scored 21 points and Memphis held off Oklahoma City in a record fourth straight overtime game to take a 3-2 lead in the first-round series.
Oklahoma City rebounded a missed 3-point attempt by Miller and called a timeout, trailing 100-99 with 2.9 seconds remaining. Kevin Durant of the Thunder missed a long 3-point attempt and teammate Serge Ibaka tipped the ball in on the rebound. The shot was reviewed and it was determined that it was released after the buzzer, ending the game.
Zach Randolph added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who will host Game 6 on Thursday.
Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.
Oklahoma City trailed by 20 points in the third quarter but trimmed its deficit to six by the start of the fourth quarter and finally took a 79-78 lead on a 3-pointer by Durant.
Consecutive baskets by Mike Conley put the Grizzlies up 87-82 with just under 4 minutes to play.