(USA TODAY) -- LOS ANGELES – In basketball, a slam dunk is worth two points.
In the Sterling vs. Sterling trial that began Monday and could determine whether estranged wife Shelly Sterling can complete a $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to billionaire Steve Ballmer, her lawyers won two major points and declared it a slam dunk of a day.
"This was a singular victory for Shelly Sterling, for Steve Ballmer and for a record sale of $2 billion," Shelly's lead attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said after the day in court.
Shelly's husband Donald and his lawyers lost in their bid to remove the case from probate court to be heard in federal court, and they lost again when testimony began. Over their objections, Judge Michael Levanas ruled that testimony about Donald's mental evaluations would be heard.
There was one more low moment for Donald – when O'Donnell called him as his first witness. Donald wasn't present.
"He was subpoenaed to be here," O'Donnell said, looking around the courtroom for dramatic effect. "He was to be my lead-off witness. He is not here."
Bobby Samini, one of Donald's lawyers, said outside the courtroom that Donald didn't come Monday because they thought the ruling on whether the case would be heard in federal court would take longer to come down.
Inside the courtroom, Donald's lawyers told Levanas they would try to make sure Donald is in court ready to testify Tuesday afternoon. Levanas suggested a time of 5:30 p.m. ET.
Meril Platzer, a neurologist specializing in Alzheimer's, testified on behalf of Shelly Sterling that she examined Donald at his house in Beverly Hills on May 19, with Shelly present.
After a two-hour examination, she testified that she addressed Shelly and Donald and said, "It looks like he has Alzheimer's."
"What was his response?" O'Donnell asked.
"He said, 'I'm hungry. I want to eat,'" Platzer responded.
Earlier in the day, Levanas had twice recessed the proceedings until getting the ruling from federal judge George Wu, who kicked back the case to probate court. And the trial immediately began.
During an opening statement, Gary Ruttenberg, one of Donald's attorneys, said: "The NBA wants to get rid of my client. They are colluding with (Shelly) to do that."
Shelly's lawyers wanted to keep to the probate court schedule because of the impending July 15 sale deadline set in the Clippers' agreement between Shelly and Ballmer.
Shelly's lawyers claim that Donald's lawyers were engaging in delay tactics to scuttle the sale and that there was no legal reason to move the case to federal jurisdiction.
"This is just desperation from a man who will do anything to keep the sale from going through," said prominent entertainment lawyer Bert Fields, one of Shelly's lawyers. "Why? Because of his ego."
The necessity of the Clippers' sale arises as a result of an audio tape the gossip site TMZ released of Donald Sterling making racist comments about African-Americans in a private conversation with his female companion, V. Stiviano. A few days later, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver condemned the comments, banned Sterling for life and said he would move to force a sale of the club.
Shelly in May removed Donald as a co-trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, after two doctors found that he was mentally incapacitated.
Shelly then negotiated a sale of the Clippers to Ballmer and initiated the probate case -- because, without Donald's consent to the sale, she needs a court's authority to close the deal, according to the terms of her agreement with Ballmer.
The deadline of the sales agreement can be moved to Aug. 15, according to the agreement between Shelly and Ballmer.