Without their owner Donald Sterling in the building — or allowed in any NBA building anymore for that matter — the Los Angeles Clippers had a playoff game on Tuesday night. But before that, there was another opportunity for the media to grill those on the periphery.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers addressed the Staples Center media first. He called Commissioner Adam Silver‘s actions on Tuesday “fantastic,” and that the decision was “the right one that had to be made,” though “not something we rejoice in.” Mostly, Rivers, who admitted that he’s “drained,” is just happy that the ordeal is over.
Following Rivers’ press conference, opposing coach Mark Jackson of the Golden State Warriors took the podium. He echoed his peer’s sentiments, saying that Silver “hit it out of the park.”
Jackson had previously suggested that if he were a fan of the Clippers, he would not have come out to support the team. That statement came before today’s NBA press conference in New York City.
Also before the game, the star point guard from each team released a statement to the media. Locker rooms were closed pre-tip.
“In response to today’s ruling by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver, my teammates and I are in agreement with his decision,” Los Angeles Clippers Point Guard Chris Paul said in a statement. “We appreciate the strong leadership from Commissioner Silver and he has our full support.”
“I was pleased in the manner in which the NBA and Commissioner Silver handled this unfortunate situation — promptly and decisively,” Golden State Warriors Guard Stephon Curry said in a statement. “There is no place for such hatred in the world or the workplace. I think the message delivered today sends a strong but fair statement that such behavior will not be tolerated in our society, regardless of your stature. I hope we can put this behind us and move forward.”
The atmosphere at the Staples Center was as much carnival as it was NBA postseason game. The arena was swamped with media before the game: representatives from the Clippers told TheWrap that they expected four times as many reporters tonight than for a regular playoff game.
The pregame press conference room was packed to the walls, as the media overflow stayed in the Chick Hearn Press Room and its auxiliary areas to cover the event via closed circuit television. The press box itself was assigned seating, with seemingly half or more of the of media outlets forced to report from designated areas under the arena.
Both locker rooms will open following the final buzzer.
The game tips-off at 7:30 p.m. PST.