LOS ANGELES -- This didn't quite feel like a hectic playoff game, it was more like an aftermath.
A release. A deep and contented breath after the madness had passed.
Oh, it was a hugely significant playoff game, too, which the Clippers controlled early, controlled late, and held on through all other trickier moments.
The Warriors played hard in Game 5 at Staples Center, but they had issues with turnovers, fouls, and getting Stephen Curry open spaces, so they lost 113-103.
And now the Warriors are down 3-2 in this series and suddenly on the brink of elimination after all this.
"We let go of the rope a little bit," coach Mark Jackson said of the team's defensive effort. "We lost; they were the better team tonight. And we look forward to Game 6."
There also was another familiar problem area for the Warriors: Against the Clippers' swarming defense, Curry only took 10 shots, only made five, and committed eight turnovers.
"It's kind of encouraging to know that I didn't get many shots up and we still had a chance to win," Curry said. "So if I can find a way to get that done, and get stops, we'll be fine the next two games."
That would be Game 6 on Thursday at Oracle Arena, and if the Warriors win that, Game 7 back in Los Angeles on Saturday.
The biggest difference from this game to the Warriors' victory in Game 4, however, was the Bad Owner dynamic.
The Clippers were demoralized by recordings of owner Donald Sterling making racist comments going into Game 4.
In contrast, the players and fans were enlivened by commissioner Adam Silver announcing a lifetime ban for Sterling a few hours before tipoff Tuesday.
So, basically, the teams are back where they started before the Sterling Controversy.
The Clippers are a little bigger and faster than the Warriors and are proving it.
And now, after the teams split the Controversy Games, the Clippers can eliminate the Warriors with one more good performance and the Warriors need to make major adjustments again.
Again, it goes back to Curry and whether the Warriors can get him into the offensive flow despite the Clippers' massive focus on him.
"He knows he's got to play better," Jackson said of Curry. "Turned the ball over obviously a little too much.
"They did a good job of being active in their pick-and-roll defense. The other night he executed, he was aggressive. Tonight I thought he at times tried to thread the needle a little too much.
"But I feel good about Steph Curry and what he's going to do moving forward."
The Warriors and Clippers just had to get through this game to re-set their emotions and re-align the rest of this series for the final sprint.
At the start of this one, neither team played particularly well in Game 5; both stumbled around at times as if they'd been idle for a week instead of just one day in the middle of a heated series. But, thanks to the four-day Sterling meltdown and the commissioner's dramatic announcement of a lifetime ban for the Clippers owner earlier in the day, this series isn't like any other.
This series was altered by the Sterling fiasco in a way we will never fully know.
There has been so much emotion, so many twists, so much drama off-the-court in this series that it's not surprising that the two teams might hit a little bit of a wall in Game 5.
The star players, in particular, seemed a little ragged at the start of this one.
Curry only shot the ball three times in the first half and Clippers star forward Blake Griffin shot a ton -- but kept missing.
But Griffin found his shot in the fourth quarter while center DeAndre Jordan -- a virtual no-show in Game 4 -- dominated the Warriors in this game just as he did in Game 2.
Once again, after that two-game journey into chaos, the Clippers are bigger and slightly better than the Warriors.
So the two teams move on to Game 6, past the worst of it and maybe just entering the best, if the Warriors are up to it.