“I think every player probably got at least one text or one call that said, ‘You guys shouldn’t play.’ I got texts saying they shouldn’t play,” C.J. Paul said. “But my thing is, ‘Unless you’re in it, you don’t know.’ You don’t know, because you haven’t been in the fight with the Clippers all season. Their championship dreams are their own. The peace they’d all made with playing for and taking a check from Sterling was their own, too. “They didn’t want to not play,” one Clippers staffer said. “They worked their ass off to get there.” This was Sterling’s mess, not theirs. Why should they have to throw away their season?