Beef! We’ve got beef! Major NBA beef. Sound the beef siren!
This beef simmered throughout the Clippers’ 113-102 home win over the Rockets, and was apparently seasoned by copious amounts of shit-talk, and resulted, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, with four Rockets players forcing their way into the celebrating Clips’ locker room.
Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and stars Chris Paul and James Harden marched through a back corridor and into the Clippers’ locker room late Monday night, suggesting that they wanted to confront Clippers players Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin, league sources told ESPN.
Rockets guard Gerald Green joined Ariza, Paul and Harden through the connecting hallway and breached the entrance of the home team’s locker room.
Stunned Clippers players, celebrating a 113-102 victory, leaped to their feet upon the realization that four seething Rockets players had come calling for them, sources told ESPN.
Because the Rockets used a “back corridor” connecting the locker rooms—described elsewhere as involving a “secret passage”—we can probably surmise that it was Paul who alerted them to its existence. (This is exactly how the Persians took Thermopylae.) And because this Woj report is filled with hilarious detail, we know that “Ariza was described as the first one through the door, with Paul lingering in the back.”
There was no donnybrook in the locker room, nor fisticuffs, nor even much of a rhubarb. “It was just a lot of barking,” one witness told the L.A. Times. Or as one Clipper told ESPN, quite descriptively, “It was classic NBA. None of these guys were going to fight.”
The Rockets reportedly stood in the entranceway yelling at the Clippers, who dared their encroachers to come further into the room. The Rockets did not, and security quickly forced them out of the room. Then, according to some reports, the police were called.
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Here is the appropriate reaction to all of this:
This was Chris Paul’s first game back against his old team, and Blake Griffin appeared particularly inspired, putting up 29, 10, and 6, and apparently never once shutting up about it. He got into it with Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni too, who he accused of illegally wandering out onto the court. So on one sequence, getting back on defense, Griffin pointed at D’Antoni then made contact with him. That led to D’Antoni cursing out Griffin.
When asked what they said to one another, D’Antoni said, “You mean after he hit me? I didn’t appreciate it.”
But at least Griffin was on the court for his trash talk. The Rockets were also enraged by Austin Rivers, who is out with an ankle injury and was wearing a suit and who, according to ESPN, “had been especially belligerent from the bench.”
Honestly, it’s the primaries in this beef that make everything particularly funny. Rivers didn’t play but was the loudest mouth there. Harden, out with a hamstring injury since New Year’s Eve, felt healthy enough to try to besiege the home locker room. Gerald Green became a Rocket exactly 19 days ago, and here he is, joining the war party.
The whole thing ended just about as perfectly as it could have:
Rockets center Clint Capela walked down the main corridor and banged on the front entrance to the Clippers’ locker room, league sources said. Soon, a Clippers staff member opened the door and looked up to see Capela, a formidable 6-foot-10 figure standing in the doorway.
She shut the door in Capela’s face. For a few moments, Capela stood there, unsure how to proceed. Before long, Capela walked back to the Rockets’ locker room, showered and headed for the bus with the rest of the Rockets.