Clippers look like Strong Contenders Again after Sterling Ban

clippers-favorites-againA few days ago, we discussed how difficult it would be for the Los Angeles Clippers to battle through the dark cloud hanging over their heads after Donald Sterling’s racist remarks. Later that day, they went on to lose Game 4 by a score of 118-97.

Okay, so not exactly the prediction of the year, given that they were playing a tough Golden State team on the road, in addition to the turmoil. But with threats of boycotts and questions of if Doc Rivers would return to the franchise next season, it didn’t look good for L.A.

Luckily, Adam Silver acted swiftly in handing down a lifetime ban to Sterling yesterday afternoon after the disgraced owner admitted that it was his voice on the tape. Additionally, he’ll be fined $2.5 million – the maximum possible by the NBA.

“The hateful opinions voiced by that of the man [on the tape] are those of Donald Sterling,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.” I’m personally distraught the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations.”

In addition to the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine, NBA owners will now vote to decide on whether Sterling should be forced to sell his team. Seeing as how 75% of the owners need to vote Sterling out, it’s almost a given that he’ll have to sell. Silver echoed this sentiment by saying, “I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him.”

It looks like justice will be served following Sterling’s embarrassing comments. And this already bodes well for the Clippers, who are looking like strong contenders for the Western Conference crown. This team played with a lot of emotion last night, en route to a 113-103 victory over the Warriors.

clippers-favorites-again-1With fans waving signs that read “We are One,” L.A. rode this support to the win, powered by DeAndre Jordan’s 25 points and 18 rebounds. Now the Clips are back in control of this series and they just need to win one more game to move on to the conference semifinals.

So with the cancer that is Sterling about to be gone, is L.A. a serious contender for the NBA title? We certainly wouldn’t count them out, especially now that they’re playing for themselves and their faithful fans.

More importantly, they could have home court advantage in the semifinals. Currently, the seventh-seeded Memphis Grizzlies are leading the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-2 in their series. Assuming Memphis can win at home, this would pit the Clippers against a team with less offensive firepower and see four out of a potential seven games played in L.A. So if you’re often interested in betting on the Clips, now could be the perfect time.

Of course, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The key takeaway from all of this is that the NBA did the right thing in getting rid of a vile owner. And it’ll be interesting to see who wins the impending bidding war to buy the franchise, which is expected to sell for over $1 billion.

Will Donald Sterling’s Racist Remarks ruin Clippers’ Playoff Chances?

donald-sterling-racist-commentsIf you are somebody who’s been betting on the Los Angeles Clippers all along in their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, then you’ve no doubt got to be worried. After all, the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, has lit the NBA on fire with his racist comments, which were released on tape by TMZ.

Sterling made the comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, after she posed for a picture with NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. The Clippers owner was angry that Stiviano, who’s half black herself, would publicly link herself to African-American people through pictures and social media outlets. Here’s a look at some of the choice comments that TMZ posted on their website:

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”

“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”

“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”

“…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”

There’s already been plenty of outrage over the audio tape as the NBA investigates the matter. Johnson, who was the target of this rant, says that Sterling “shouldn’t own a team anymore.” He adds, “I was really upset. You can’t understand how hurt I was, and I was also hurt for all African-Americans and all minorities.” Keep in mind that this is somebody who claims to have previously been friends with Sterling.

LeBron James tweeted, “There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There’s just no room for him.” Even President Barack Obama chimed in by saying, “What ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.” Obama added that he hopes the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, “will address this.”

donald-sterling-racist-comments-1Based on the public scrutiny that Sterling’s comments have already been through, it’s little surprise that the Clippers themselves thought of boycotting today’s home playoff game against the Golden State Warriors. Head coach Doc Rivers says that there was actually a 45-minute team meeting held to discuss whether or not L.A. would take the court against Golden State. Some of the players were in favor of the boycott, but Rivers ultimately decided that they should still play Game 4.

“We needed to talk about it because everyone else is,” Rivers said, regarding the meeting. “We needed to talk about it and all things came up. We heard all the stuff and boycotts and all that stuff. All those things are things you can do. We choose to play and we’re going to play tomorrow. A boycott was brought up because I’m sure 20,000 people have suggested it. But honestly, I’m completely against that and they were, too.”

One thing that helped Rivers and the team come to a decision on playing is the fact that they don’t know if the recorded cell phone conversation is 100% real or altered. Sterling has accused his girlfriend of embezzling $1.8 million, and she’s since vowed “to get even.”

Regardless of if the tape is 100% authentic, one has to consider the major implications that this situation will have on the outcome of the Clippers/Warriors playoff series. Certain members of L.A. were adamant about not playing Game 4 and building on their 2-1 series lead. So how are they going to be completely focused on X’s and O’s when there’s a very good chance that their owner is a huge racist.

Rivers hit upon this by saying, “In a weird way I think Golden State is having a ball right now because we’re not talking about them. The fact that I spent 45 minutes in a meeting instead of watching film did not make me happy, if you know me at all. It is real life. You have to deal with it.”

Another point worth mentioning in all of this is if the Clippers even care about winning this series. Provided it’s truly his voice on the tape, Sterling clearly doesn’t see African-Americans as equals. So do his players want to win, advance to the conference semifinals, and make more money for a guy who merely considers the black players on his team to be employees?

Whether or not Sterling’s racist remarks do indeed have a negative impact on the Clippers’ playing ability, it’s certainly not reflected at many land-based and online sportsbooks. In fact, our line at still favors the Clippers at -2, while many Vegas sportsbooks are giving L.A. between a -2 and -2.5 line.