Tempers flared late in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 113-102 win over the Houston Rockets, and that animosity carried over to the postgame locker rooms.
The Rockets’ Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, James Harden and Gerald Green went through a back door to the Clippers’ locker room in an attempt to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin, two people with knowledge of what transpired who asked for anonymity because of the nature of the incident told USA TODAY Sports. The Rockets’ Clint Capela also attempted to access the Clippers’ locker room, but through the front door.
Staples Center security prevented the Rockets players from entering the Clippers’ locker room, and there was no physical altercation.
The attempted locker room breach followed an intense game that included Griffin and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni exchanging words – and maybe more – in the closing minutes of the game. Each received technicals.
“You mean after he hit me?” D’Antoni told reporters when asked about what transpired with about three and half minutes left. “I didn’t appreciate it.”
Asked about what occurred after the game, D’Antoni said “boys will be boys.”
Clippers coach Doc Rivers would only say his team was in its own locker room. “Their entire team was not in their locker room,” he said, referring to the Rockets.
“We’re honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’re non-violent,” Rivers quipped.
An LAPD spokesperson told USA TODAY Sports late Monday night that no information about the incident was immediately available.
Paul made his first appearance against his former team since he basically forced a trade in the offseason. He told the Clippers he’d opt out of his deal and sign with the Rockets as a free agent if he wasn’t dealt. Adding to the animus, he also criticized the Clippers’ culture in October.
The Clippers received seven players, a draft pick and cash considerations in exchange for Paul, a nine-time All-Star point guard.
Paul dodged the question about the locker room incident when asked by reporters afterward.
Griffin, who was ejected after a confrontation with Ariza with 1:03 remaining, took to Twitter after the game to mock what transpired.