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Stephen Curry carries Warriors to 118-97 win, series tied (w/video)

  • Stephen Curry lets out a yell after blocking a shot attempt by Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick during Game 4 in Oakland on Sunday, April 27, 2014. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / The Press Democrat)

OAKLAND — NBA players frequently go to their coaches to discuss playing time or who deserves to be in the starting lineup, and it isn't hard to guess whom they're usually advocating for: themselves.

On Friday, Warriors center Jermaine O'Neal pulled coach Mark Jackson aside and made an atypical suggestion. He urged Jackson to remove O'Neal from the starting lineup and go with the younger, shorter, quicker Draymond Green instead. O'Neal had noticed that the Los Angeles Clippers clogged the paint when he was in the game, taking away Golden State's inside options.

Jackson implemented O'Neal's proposal, going with a smaller lineup that had David Lee at center and Green at power forward, and it may have altered this NBA first-round playoff series. It certainly swung the tide Sunday as the fired-up Warriors ran away with a 118-97 win at Oracle Arena.

Warriors v. Clippers Playoff Game 4


“They pushed us around,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They pushed us, grabbed us, held us, knocked us down, got every offensive rebound, got all the 50/50 balls. I just thought they were the tougher team, and it wasn't even close.”

The series heads back to Los Angeles tied at two games apiece, and with major issues swirling around the Clippers.

They played Game 4 under the shadow of team owner Donald Sterling, who was allegedly caught on audiotape directing his mistress not to publicly associate with African-Americans, and not to bring them to Clippers games.

The revelations set off a firestorm, and Rivers admitted Saturday that his players had briefly considered boycotting Sunday's game. They decided to play. But when they took the court for pregame drills — with Sterling's wife, Rochelle, sitting courtside — the Clippers shed their warm-up tops, emblazoned with the team name, and ceremoniously dropped them in a pile at midcourt. They banked lay-ups wearing long sleeved team T-shirts turned inside-out, and each player wore a black armband in solidarity.

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