Good morning, Adam Silver dropped the ban hammer on Donald Sterling

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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Good morning. Let's basketball.

FREE THE SCEPTER: Adam Silver dropped, quite literally, the ban hammer on Donald T. Sterling Tuesday: as you've surely heard, he banned Sterling from NBA activities for life, fined him the maximum $2.5 million and said he'd ask the Board of Governors to force him to sell.

The punishment was met with glee by the players and most of the media, fans and your standard reactionary NBA bench. Paul Flannery's sentiment -- that Silver shined in his first major test -- is the right one, if also the popular one.

If the punishment hadn't been satisfactory, the Warriors had a plan to walk out of their game against the Clippers at tip-off. One can only imagine what L.A. would have come up with.

ZARDS PARTY! The Washington Wizards have won a playoff series for the first time since 2005 and only the second time since 1982Bullets Forever is appropriately giddy.

MORE OVERTIME MORE MORE MORE: Would you believe that Thunder-Grizz went to overtime again? Of course you would! OKC was down 20 in the third, rallied back and tied it with a Russell Westbrook steal and dunk and then almost sent it to 2OT ... but Serge Ibaka didn't get his putback attempt off in time. The Grizz lead 3-2.

You'll be stunned to hear that Joey Crawford played a major role. He basically iced Kevin Durant at the time for no apparent reason in OT.

WE ARE [leading the series by] ONE: In an emotional night in L.A., the Clippers came ahead 113-103 to take a 3-2 series leadFans did not disappoint with their signs and t-shirtsA "We Are One" chant broke out, referencing the the league's new unity mantra in the wake of the ban hammer.

Off the court, rich people immediately began expressing their interest in buying the Clippers. Like, uh, Floyd Mayweather. (He's not problematic in any way!)

So how exactly will the NBA force Sterling to sell? Silver needs a 3/4th majority from the Board of Governors (it looks like it will be unanimous, minus Sterling) and then the process gets messy.

TONIGHT: Three more games, only one of them with elimination in play.

Mavericks at Spurs, 7 p.m. ET, TNT | Series tied 2-2
Nets at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV | Series tied 2-2
Blazers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT | Portland leads 3-1

HOW TINY EMERSON COLLEGE BECAME AN NBA PIPELINE: Great piece by Liam Boylan-Pett.

L'AFFAIRE ERMAN: So remember when respected Warriors assistant Darren Erman got fired by the Warriors with like two weeks left in the regular season? His violation: secretly recording coaches and players.

ESPN's Chris Broussard reports it happened repeatedlyYahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that it happened once, and oh by the way Erman's already been hired as the Celtics' director of scouting. Other murmurs suggest Erman was spying on Mark Jackson at the behest of ... Jerry West, a member of the Warriors' front office. And Zach Lowe reports that West had been banned from practice and most team activities. (Jackson vehemently denied that to Sam Amick.)

Imagine how crazy this would all look if not for the Sterling story? What a weird series.

JUST LISTEN: Bomani Jones on housing discrimination and Sterling's downfall.

WHIMSY: Banging feature on D'AngeloVia Shoals.

Happy Wednesday. See you next time.

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