The latest installment of the regional rivalry between the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets went to another level of chippiness on Tuesday night, with eight technical fouls, one flagrant foul and one ejection between the two teams.
That ejection was Trevor Ariza, who was T’d up for a second time during the third and fourth quarters for going onto the court during a dead ball to yell at the Mavs’ Salah Mejri. He was so hot that he went to the Dallas locker room after the game to confront Mejri, according to ESPN.
The cause for Ariza’s uncharacteristic outburst was reportedly comments Mejri made about the Rockets forward’s wife and children, though Mejri strongly denied that account. Ariza was accompanied by some of his teammates, including James Harden, as well as stadium security personnel and Dallas police. Mejri wouldn’t come out, though, and Ariza left without further incident and without speaking to reporters.
Beyond what Mejri did or didn’t say, the Rockets were thoroughly displeased with how the Mavericks behaved during the game.
“I don’t know what they were on tonight,” [James] Harden said [to reporters]. “That other team was tripping tonight. They were disrespectful, were unprofessional players and coaches. I don’t know what was their problem, but I think that got us going. They wanted to throw a little cheap shot and just woke us up a little bit, and it was over from there.”
Beverley even heckled Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle as the latter was leaving his press conference.
“Don’t be mad at us, Coach,” Beverley yelled at Carlisle, who didn’t respond to Beverley. “Way to be an icon, Coach. Have a nice season, Coach.”
The two teams have completed their season series, which the Rockets swept, so if they want to hold a grudge, they’ll have to do so through the offseason.