LOS ANGELES — Houston’s James Harden, Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green pushed into the LA Clippers‘ locker room Monday night looking to confront Austin Rivers after the Rockets‘ 113-102 loss, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Security escorted the Rockets players out before anything turned physical, the sources said. They had entered through a back hallway that connects team dressing rooms.
The Rockets players were clamoring for Blake Griffin too, according to the sources.
As the four Rockets were marched through the back hallway, center Clint Capela knocked on the front door of the Clippers’ locker-room entry, the sources said. Someone opened the door and saw him standing there — and shut it on him, the sources said.
Paul was asked by a reporter later if things got chippy in the locker room.
“Um, I don’t know,” Paul said. “We took our loss, you know what I mean, tough loss. Get up out of here. I think it’s ice headed to Houston.”
Austin Rivers, in street clothes on the sideline as he recovers from an ankle injury, could be seen exchanging heated words with Ariza late in the fourth quarter before Griffin got between the two of them and added his own words.
“He asked me if I was still coming to his birthday party,” Griffin joked when asked what he said to Ariza. “And I said I was going to try.”
Griffin also weighed in on Twitter — after the dust had settled.
— Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) January 16, 2018
Clippers coach Doc Rivers declined to reveal details of the confrontation.
“Let’s put it like this: Our team was in our locker room. That’s all I’ll say,” Rivers said. “I’ll let you do the rest of the investigation. I will say their entire team was not in their locker room. You’re going to have to figure it out from there.”
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, out for the season after microfracture surgery on his knee, also took to Twitter in the aftermath.
It’s a different culture in LA. No more soft shit here!!!!!
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) January 16, 2018
Things turned testy with three-and-a-half minutes to play.
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 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 Ariza received double technicals after exchanging words, and both were ejected.
Griffin high-fived players on the Clippers’ bench as he stormed off the court, tearing off his jersey in the process.
“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.”
Information from ESPN’s Jovan Buha and The Associated Press was used in this report.