The Los Angeles Clippers made a silent protest against owner Donald Sterling before Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series against Golden State. The Warriors made a different kind of statement during the game.
And just like that, a series pulled into a race-related scandal took another twist.
Stephen Curry made a career playoff-high seven 3-pointers and scored 33 points, leading the Warriors past the Clippers, 118-97, Sunday in Oakland, Calif., to even their first-round series at two games apiece.
‘‘We wanted to come out and focus on all the work we’ve put in over the summer, throughout the course of the season to be ready for this moment in the playoffs and just have fun and enjoy it — not let one person ruin it for everybody,’’ Curry said.
The game almost became an afterthought — until tipoff anyway — after an audio recording was posted Saturday online by TMZ purportedly of Sterling making comments urging a woman to not bring black people to his team’s games. The alleged comments, which are under investigation by the NBA, have set off reactions of anger and calls for action through the league.
Clippers players made a silent protest against Sterling by shedding their warm-up jerseys and going through the pregame routine with their red shirts on inside out. They also wore black bands on their wrists or arms and black socks in a show of solidarity.
Curry and company did a better job focusing from the start.
The All-Star guard made his first five 3-point tries to give Golden State a 20-point lead in the first quarter that held up most of the way. Curry shot 10 for 20 from the floor, including 7 of 14 from beyond the arc, and had seven assists and seven rebounds to help the Warriors snap a two-game losing skid.
‘‘I think both teams were somewhat bothered by what has taken place the last 24 hours,’’ Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. ‘‘But my guys just played with great energy, great effort.’’
Clippers coach Doc Rivers blamed himself for not getting his players ready.
‘‘I’m not going to deny that we had other stuff,’’ he said. ‘‘I just believe when the game starts, the game starts and nobody cares anymore. Golden State surely didn’t care.’’
Raptors 87, Nets 79 — DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry added 22, and visiting Toronto beat Brooklyn to even their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece.
Amir Johnson had 17 points for the Raptors, who gave up all of a 17-point lead, then shut the Nets down over the final five minutes to snap a 13-game road losing streak in the playoffs that went back 13 years.
Paul Pierce scored 22 points for the Nets, who were 3 for 17 in the fourth quarter and didn’t have a field goal after Pierce’s basket with 6:13 left gave them a 77-73 lead.
Trail Blazers 123, Rockets 120 — LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks, and host Portland survived the third overtime of the series to take a 3-1 advantage over Houston.
Damian Lillard had 23 points and eight assists and Nicolas Batum had 25 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds for the Blazers, who can close the series Wednesday in Houston. Wesley Matthews stole the ball from Patrick Beverley at midcourt to seal the game.
Dwight Howard led the Rockets with a 28-point, 14-rebound effort, while teammate James Harden added another 28 points. Howard’s dunk with three seconds left tied the game at 106, setting up overtime.
Wizards 98, Bulls 89 — Trevor Ariza had a career playoff-high 30 points, and host Washington scored the first 14 points of the game and barely looked back in beating Chicago to take 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Washington played without forward Nene, who was suspended for grabbing Jimmy Butler by the head in Game 3.
Taj Gibson scored a career-high 32 points on 13-for-16 shooting for Chicago, but his teammates combined to go 22 for 62 from the field.