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.
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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.