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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Several hours after owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life, the Los Angeles Clippers sprinted and soared through a playoff game as if a weight had been lifted from their collective shoulders.
The Clippers finished a tumultuous day with a 113-103 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, leaving their home court to high-fives and standing ovations from fans enthralled by the prospect of watching an NBA title chase without Sterling in his front-row seat.
“We have a tough locker room, all of us are tough, but it almost brought out tears to your eyes just to feel the support from the fans,” said Chris Paul, the Clippers’ star point guard.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver delivered the extraordinary punishment to Sterling after a recording of racist statements by the real-estate mogul was made public several days ago.
The ban is one of the harshest penalties in the history of U.S. sports, but was met with near-universal acclaim from fellow owners, civil rights observers and NBA players who strongly contemplated a playoff boycott if Sterling wasn’t punished harshly.
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