- Four Houston Rockets players reportedly sneaked through a back corridor into the Los Angeles Clippers locker room to confront the Clippers after a chippy game.
- The Clippers were reportedly stunned to see the Rockets appear in their locker room, presumably led by Paul, who played six seasons with the Clippers.
- The confrontation was broken up before it turned physical. The NBA will investigate the incident.
An ugly scene unfolded on Monday at the Staples Center after the Los Angeles Clippers’ drama-fuelled 113-102 win over the Houston Rockets.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, four Rockets players, Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green, “breached” the Clippers locker room by sneaking through a back corridor in the Staples Center.
According to Wojnarowski, Clippers players were stunned when the Rockets suddenly appeared in their locker room, presumably led by Paul, who played for the Clippers for six seasons. Clippers players reportedly dared the Rockets to step further into the locker room when security arrived and broke up the confrontation before it turned physical.
The incident came after a contentious game that saw Blake Griffin get ejected late in the game after several brush-ups with the Rockets. In the fourth quarter, Griffin appeared to shoulder Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, leading D’Antoni to yell an expletive at Griffin.
De pronto el partido se empezó a poner calentito entre Blake Griffin, D’Antoni y CP3… ????????pic.twitter.com/ENyeLanEtI
— Tercer Equipo NBA (@NBATercerEquipo) January 16, 2018
Later, Griffin threw the ball hard off the Rockets’ Eric Gordon while falling out of bounds.
— King ???? (@Philip0Turner) January 16, 2018
Ariza also exchanged words with Clippers guard Austin Rivers while Rivers was on the bench before Griffin got involved and was ejected.
Some details of the postgame confrontation were humorous, however. According to Wojnarowski, while the Rockets confronted the Clippers in the locker room, Rockets center Clint Capela went to the main entrance of the Clippers locker room and banged on the door. According to Wojnarwoski, a Clippers staffer opened the door, saw Capela, then shut the door on him. Capela reportedly eventually turned away, confused, and went back to the Rockets locker room.
Likewise, some doubted the true intentions of the Rockets. A Clippers source told Wojnarowski: “It was classic NBA. None of these guys were going to fight.”
Nonetheless, the incident will have ramifications. The NBA will reportedly investigate the incident, and it remains to be seen if sneaking into an opponent’s locker room will be deemed worthy of a suspension. The incident is also eyebrow-raising for Paul since he is the president of the National Basketball Players’ Association.
The breakup of the Clippers as we knew them, starting with the Clippers trading Paul to the Rockets in June, seemed to have left more scars than expected, judging by the chippy nature of Monday’s game. Expect more fireworks when the two teams meet again twice more this season.
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