(NEWSER) – "It was almost like everybody wanted to exhale tonight, and it was good," LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers said last night when the team soared to a 113-103 victory over the Golden State Warriors just hours after the NBA banned owner Donald Sterling for life over racist remarks. With the cloud of controversy lifted, the Clippers "played as if on wings, flying around with hustle and heart" before ecstatic fans who gave a standing ovation when two fans wearing T-shirts with Sterling's face crossed out appeared on the video screen, writes Bill Plaschke at theLos Angeles Times. More:

  • If the NBA hadn't chucked Sterling, the game would never have happened, because both teams had planned to walk off the court in protest moments before it was supposed to begin, Sports Illustrated reveals. "It was a real option," says Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
  • V. Stiviano, the woman Sterling was recorded making racist remarks to, is "saddened" by the owner's lifetime ban and is "devastated" that the recording was released, her lawyer tells the Los Angeles Times. He says that his client wasn't Sterling's girlfriend and never had a romantic relationship with him. The lawyer says she was hired as an "archivist"—an archivist who received $1.8 million in gifts from Sterling, according to a lawsuit filed by his wife of more than 50 years.

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