Updated: Per ESPN, Rockets forward Trevor Ariza reportedly made the "most aggressive" attempts to enter the Clippers' locker room during Monday's postgame fracas at Staples Center, while Chris Paul and James Harden served as peacemakers.
Sources: As details emerge on aftermath Rockets-Clippers game, Trevor Ariza remains described as most aggressive and determined to get into opposing locker room — with Chris Paul and James Harden viewed as trying to slow down Ariza. NBA investigation will continue into Wednesday.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2018
Ariza had words with injured Austin Rivers near the Clippers' bench as time wound down in their 113-102 victory over the visiting Rockets. Clearly incensed, Ariza had to be repeatedly prevented from confronting Rivers before he and Clippers forward Blake Griffin were assessed with technical fouls and ejected.
Emotions were already running high with Chris Paul, now a member of the Houston Rockets, returning to Staples Center on MLK Day, so it came as little surprise that things would get chippy.
The LA Clippers' Blake Griffin and Rockets' Trevor Ariza were ejected late in the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 113-102 win, but things reportedly got even more heated after the game. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, members of the Rockets attempted to enter the Clippers' locker room through a back entrance and were held back by security.
Per Wojnarowski, Houston's Trevor Ariza, James Harden and Chris Paul entered through a back corridor at Staples Center and sought to confront the Clippers' Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin. Rockets guard Gerald Green also joined Ariza, Harden and Paul and in the connecting hallway and breached the entrance of the Clippers' locker room.
As the Clippers were celebrating their win, Wojnarowski reports, they leaped to their feet after realizing that four Rockets players had come calling for them.
For a few fleeting moments, several Clippers dared the Rockets to come farther into the room, sources said. Security and team officials soon converged on the Rockets, pushing them out the door and back toward the visiting locker room, sources said. Ariza was described as the first one through the door, with Paul lingering in the back, witnesses told ESPN.
"It was classic NBA," one Clipper witness told ESPN. "None of these guys were going to fight."
The NBA will investigate the matter and start gathering information on Tuesday, league sources said.
"We were where we were supposed to be," Griffin said. "We were in our locker room. So whatever happens over there, I mean, we can't control what anybody else does. We control what we did. Everybody was in our seats. That's it. You should ask them."
According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Rockets center Clint Capela stood outside the Clippers' locker room but could not get in as well.
Chris Paul, James Harden, Gerald Green and Trevor Ariza did go through the back hallway that leads to the Clippers locker room. Got stopped before actually getting in.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) January 16, 2018
I'm hearing they came into the Clippers training room. It was bad. https://t.co/4CmoGN57Ka— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 16, 2018
Can confirm wild details from Staples Center: Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green going to Clippers locker room with Austin Rivers, Blake Griffin in their sights through backdoor. Security stops it before it happens (with Capela turned away at front door). Geesh.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) January 16, 2018
Things got testy with 3 1/2 minutes to go. Griffin scored under the basket and Paul was called for a foul. Paul ran over to the referees in disbelief, while Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni appeared to unleash a stream of expletives in Griffin's direction.
The referees reviewed video of the play and confirmed the foul on Paul, while also assessing double technicals to Griffin and D'Antoni.
The crowd was on its feet with 1:12 to go after Griffin caught the ball near the midcourt sideline and slammed it off Eric Gordon's back in order to keep it from going out of bounds. Nine seconds later, Griffin and Trevor Ariza, who was jawing with Austin Rivers, received double technicals after exchanging words, and both were ejected.
By the way, remember this? Not the first time the Clippers had this sort of postgame scene that involved the infamous backdoor hallway (cc: Warriors, circa 2014, Game 7 of first round) https://t.co/Y20gi1wy3v— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) January 16, 2018
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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