A smile eased across the faces of Clippers Chris Paul and Blake Griffin when they were asked to respond to Donald Sterling's comments.
Paul and Griffin quickly let it be known that Sterling's comment that his players still love him was inaccurate.
Sterling made his comments during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper that aired Monday night.
"I don't know about all that," Paul said Tuesday. "Love my wife, my kids, my family, my teammates. Yeah!"
Sterling, who has been banned by the NBA for making disparaging remarks about blacks and cannot have any contact with his players, talked about how the players still loved him.
"Absolutely!" Sterling said during the interview. "They know I'm not a racist — and I'm not a racist."
Griffin, who has been with the Clippers for five seasons, disagreed with Sterling's comments about the players' fondness for him.
"If you ask every single guy on this team, they'd say they love their family," Griffin said. "They love their teammates. That's who we're playing for. And that's really the bottom line."
Griffin said his teammates know about Sterling's interviews because "it's kind hard not to."
But Griffin also said it has become easier to block out the clutter and to concentrate on the Western Conference series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"Throughout the past two weeks, we've tried to make it ... not about what's going on with him," he said.
"It's a lot easier now, to tell you the truth. In that Golden State series, it was a little tougher time. But now, we feel like we're focused."
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was asked to comment on Sterling's continued rant about Johnson.
During the extended interview on CNN, Sterling talked about how Johnson "goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about?"
"I wasn't looking for him to say anything, to be honest," Rivers said about Sterling. "I've been asked 100 times, 'Do you accept his apology?' I wasn't looking for him to say anything. I'm not looking for the apology. Right now, I'm focused on our guys and being above all that.
"But that's fine. He's going to keep doing what he does. We have to keep doing our jobs."
Rivers was asked if he was surprised that Sterling was piling on Johnson.
"I don't know if I am or not, to be honest," Rivers said. "For me, that's out there. That's stuff we still have to deal with. But it can't affect us and it can't touch us and so we have to focus on our jobs.
"I don't think you have to focus on it off the court. I think that's your choice. I choose not to as much as I can."
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