The Clippers took down the Rockets 113-102 on Monday night in L.A. in an emotional game for many involved, as it was the first meeting between the two teams that made one of the NBA’s biggest blockbuster trades this summer.
It was the first matchup between Chris Paul and his old Clippers squad after he asked to be traded to Houston in June, and it was also the first time the former Rockets who were dealt to L.A. for Paul got to play against their old team, as well. The game got chippy late, with Blake Griffin at the center of some minor incidents with Paul, Trevor Ariza and even Mike D’Antoni after trying to bump into the Rockets’ coach late in the fourth quarter.
The real fireworks came in the Clippers’ locker room after the game, though.
A hallway connects the visitor’s locker room with the Clippers’ locker room at Staples Center, and Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green allegedly used that to barge into the L.A. locker room in an effort to confront Griffin and Austin Rivers. There are numerous reports confirming the incident took place, from Lee Jenkins at SI, Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN and Sam Amick at USA Today, among others.
Ariza was, by all accounts, the one most upset and most intent on going after the two members of the Clippers. According to Jenkins, Ariza looking for Griffin initially, and later turned to Rivers for something he said to the group of Rockets that burst through the backdoor.
(Are you following DIME on Instagram?)
A hallway runs between the Clippers locker room and the visitors locker room, where players from opposing teams often see each other and catch up. According to a Rockets source, Ariza was waiting on Griffin, and when the game ended he charged from the hallway into the Clips locker room. When Rivers spotted Ariza near the entrance, according to the source, he said: “Let his b—– a– come in.” Ariza then turned his attention to Rivers.
ESPN reported that Ariza was flanked by three teammates — Harden, Paul and Gerald Green — but their purpose was unclear. “They were holding Trevor back,” the source said.
Wojnarowski’s report also indicates Ariza was first through the door, although notes that the three other Rockets players were “seething,” which paints them as being more involved in the incident than Jenkins’ source indicates.
In the aftermath of a cantankerous loss to the LA Clippers, Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and stars Chris Paul and James Harden marched through a back corridor and into the Clippers’ locker room late Monday night, suggesting that they wanted to confront Clippers players Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin, league sources told ESPN.
Rockets guard Gerald Green joined Ariza, Paul and Harden through the connecting hallway and breached the entrance of the home team’s locker room.
Stunned Clippers players, celebrating a 113-102 victory, leaped to their feet upon the realization that four seething Rockets players had come calling for them, sources told ESPN.
It’s all extremely bizarre, but security was able to get the Rockets players out of the Clippers locker room before anything got physical. Afterwards, Griffin told reporters they were all where they were supposed to be in their own locker room, and to ask the Rockets what happened. He later took to Twitter, along with Patrick Beverley, to stoke the fires a bit more.
Even the Clippers mascot got in on the action.
It will be very interesting to see what the NBA’s reaction to the entire incident will be and what their investigation leads to, because you can be assured they’re not pleased with players barging into another locker room looking to fight (or, at the least, have a heated conversation).