OAKLAND, Calif. -- All-Star point guard Stephen Curry exploded for 17 of his game-high 33 points in the first quarter, and the Golden State Warriors added on-court misery to the Los Angeles Clippers' off-the-court issues, thumping the Pacific Division regular-season champs 118-97 to even the Western Conference first-round series at 2-2.
Game 5 is scheduled for Tuesday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, with Game 6 now a certainty Thursday back in Oakland.
Whether Clippers owner Donald Sterling is able to attend the games remains to be seen. He was asked not to show up in Oakland on Sunday after controversial comments attributed to him went public in the two days off between Games 3 and 4.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver instructed Sterling to lie low while the league investigates the authenticity of a tape recording on which a man identified as the Clippers owner made racial remarks so powerful that even President Obama felt compelled to respond during a trip to Malaysia.
Clippers players, who were told by coach Doc Rivers not to comment on the situation, made a silent protest during Sunday's pregame warmups about 20 minutes before the opening tip. They circled in the midcourt area of Oracle Arena and threw their Clippers warmup jackets on the ground, exposing team warmup T-shirts that were turned inside-out to hide any reference to the team Sterling owns.
Shortly after the game started, the Warriors stole the spotlight. Starting a smaller lineup that featured 6-foot-7 forward Draymond Green in place of 6-11 center Jermaine O'Neal, Golden State sent its crowd into a frenzy with a 25-10 flurry over the first 5:58, with Curry and backcourt mate Klay Thompson combining for 12 points on four 3-pointers.
The Clippers were never a serious threat thereafter, although they did have a chance to close within single digits in the fourth quarter. With Los Angeles down 100-90 and still almost six minutes to play, star power forward Blake Griffin missed from the interior and shooting guard J.J. Redick misfired from the perimeter.
When Curry nailed his seventh 3-pointer on Golden State's next possession, the Clippers' last hope was dashed.
Curry, who was held to six 3-pointers on 21 attempts in the first three games of the series, went 7-forf-14 during his 33-point outing. He also found time for seven assists and a team-high seven rebounds.
Curry got plenty of help. Small forward Andre Iguodala (22 points),
Thompson (15), power forward David Lee (15) and backup swingman Harrison Barnes (15) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who shot 55.4 percent overall and 46.9 percent from 3-point range.
Iguodala had his best game of the series, adding a team-high nine assists to his series-high point total.
Backup guard Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 26 points, but Los Angeles' Big Three struggled big-time.
Griffin, coming off a 32-point performance in Thursday's 98-96 win in Oakland, had 21 points, but standout point guard Chris Paul managed only 16 points as he fought through foul trouble. Center DeAndre Jordan followed up a 14-point, 22-point demolition with no points and six rebounds.
Rivers said before the game he would have to monitor which, if any, of his players was significantly affected by the Sterling firestorm. He didn't make any substitutions while the Warriors were busting out to a 22-10 lead in the first 6:16, perhaps because all five of his starters were struggling.
Curry hit his first three 3-point attempts in the early burst, and he was fouled on his fourth. Despite missing one of the three free throws, he had half the Warriors' points in that stretch, and Thompson added eight points in the opening run.
After Paul left the game with two fouls, Thompson buried a second 3-pointer, making it a 15-point game at the midpoint of the period.
The lead eventually stretched to 39-19 before the Clippers scored the final five points of the quarter.
Curry (17) and Thompson (eight) combined to outscore the Clippers 25-24 in the quarter, connecting on seven 3-pointers in 11 attempts. The Warriors shot 66.7 percent overall and also forced eight Clippers turnovers, converting them into eight points.
With Los Angeles down 66-48 at halftime, Rivers seemed to be making a statement of sorts when he went right back with his starting lineup against the Warriors' new look to start the second half.
The ploy worked as the Clippers hung around for a while, but they never got closer 10 the rest of the way.
NOTES: The Warriors, who lost Games 2 and 3, had only one three-game losing streak all season (Nov. 20-23). ... The Warriors haven't lost consecutive home playoff games since 1991 against the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Asked before the game if he feared fans in Los Angeles might boycott Game 5 in protest of team owner Donald Sterling's comments, Clippers coach Doc Rivers responded, "I would understand. I hope not. We need everybody."