OAKLAND — Slowly, the Clippers are putting the Donald Sterling scandal behind them.
Now the Clippers just need to put the Golden State Warriors behind them.
The Clippers were unable to do so in a close-out game for them Thursday night at Oracle Arena, falling to the Warriors, 100-99, in Game 6 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series.
With the best-of-seven series tied at 3-3, it will now be a winner-take-all Game 7 Saturday night at Staples Center.
“The experience is you have to come play,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said about Game 7s. “I've won some on the road. I've lost some at home. You've got to go play. You've just got to go out there and play the game and be aggressive and try to take the game.”
The Clippers were 34-7 at home during the regular-season, tied for the best home record in the West with Oklahoma City.
“When you're at home, you can't rely on home,” Rivers said. “That doesn't work. It's going to be great to be at home. We'll be back in our safe haven now and the fans gave us great energy, but you've still got to perform.”
When Blake Griffin fouled Andre Iguodala while he was making a three-pointer with 2:31 left for his sixth foul, the Clippers looked done because they were down by seven points.
Griffin had left the game having scored 17 points, making eight of 24 from the field.
Still, the Clippers rallied to get within two points, but J.J. Redick was called for his sixth foul with 5.6 seconds left on Harrison Barnes, who made both free throws for a 100-96 lead.
Then in a wild finish, the Clippers missed three consecutive shots before Matt Barnes made a three-pointer to bring the Clippers to within 100-99 with 1.1 seconds left.
After Stephen Curry was fouled with 0.4 seconds left, he missed both free throws, the second intentionally, and Draymond Green tipped the ball way as time expired.
Curry finished with 24 points and nine assists.
Chris Paul, who missed a layup late in the game, finished with nine points and eight assists. He was three for 10 from the field.
Paul has been dealing with a right hamstring injury that's slowing him down and a right thumb injury the Clippers didn't reveal.
“He does have injuries,” Rivers said. “There's no doubt about that.”
On Thursday, a group of owners had started the process to remove Sterling from ownership of the Clippers, saying they wanted to “move as expeditiously as possible.” A 10-member advisory/finance committee held its meeting Thursday in a conference call to discuss “the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.”
Even before that announcement, Rivers said his team was starting to return to normal.
But then the Clippers went out and shot 36.8% from the field and gave up 18 offensive rebounds.
“They were the tougher team tonight, I thought,” Rivers said. “But I thought we wanted to win.”
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