Chris Paul, Harden, Others Reportedly Travel to Clippers Locker Room, Confront Players Postgame | Def Pen
Chris Paul
Rockets guard Chris Paul. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers and Rockets engaged in a physical, back-and-forth contest at Staples Center Monday night, one which saw the Clippers pull away with a 113-102 victory. The game had a number of heated moments between players — many of whom were involved in a blockbuster trade this past summer — and the festivities kicked off when Blake Griffin appeared to bump into Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni.

The two exchanged pleasantries, with D’Antoni screaming “F— you” at Griffin as he was caught up in a war of words with Trevor Ariza and former teammate Chris Paul:

Shortly after, Griffin and Ariza engaged in yet another altercation. The two were promptly ejected from the contest and sent to their respective locker rooms. The incident was accompanied by Austin Rivers, who sat the game out due to injury, talking trash to Ariza from the bench — a rowdy Patrick Beverley loving everything he sees.

Little did the rest of us know, but the night was only getting started.

Reports slightly conflict on what happened next, but Ariza, accompanied by teammates Chris Paul, James Harden and Gerald Green, ventured off in search of Griffin and Rivers after the contest ended. They were incensed with what happened during the game. Chris Paul, a former Clipper, led the regime storming down a back hallway entering through the Clippers locker room, according to ESPN.com report.

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.

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.

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The Clippers’ coaching staff was in a separate room, heard the ruckus and rushed out — only to see its former point guard, Paul, getting pushed back out and into the hallway, sources said. On a night that the Clippers organization played a video montage to honor Paul’s six seasons here, the fractured relationships that led to his departure in June percolated in the raucous fallout of the night.

The Rockets players were filled with a greater animus for Rivers, sources told ESPN, because they insist that he had been especially belligerent from the bench in the late stages of the Clippers’ victory. Out with an ankle injury and wearing a suit, Rivers was reveling in Griffin’s dominant performance of 29 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Once Griffin became entangled with several Rockets, Rivers’ verbiage appeared to become more aggressive.

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated had more details:

A hallway runs between the Clippers locker room and the visitors locker room, where players from opposing teams often see each other and catch up. According to a Rockets source, Ariza was waiting on Griffin, and when the game ended he charged from the hallway into the Clips locker room. When Rivers spotted Ariza near the entrance, according to the source, he said: “Let his b—– a– come in.” Ariza then turned his attention to Rivers.

ESPN reported that Ariza was flanked by three teammates—Harden, Paul and Gerald Green—but their purpose was unclear. “They were holding Trevor back,” the source said. Security was summoned and no punches were thrown, unless you count the jab Paul landed in his post-game interview, when he praised Williams and suggested the Clippers run their offense through the quick-trigger guard. He didn’t mention Griffin or the hallway. Meanwhile, Beverley tweeted: “It’s a different culture in LA. No more soft s— here!!!!!”

Along with the four players, Rockets big men Tarik Black and Clint Capela also ventured to the Clippers’ locker room, according to media reports. Capela showed up at the front door, only to have it slammed in his face by a Clippers official, according to the ESPN.com report.

No punches were thrown in any incidents between the teams, a source told Def Pen Hoops. The league will investigate the matter and is expected to release results by the end of the week, some of which may include hefty punishments for players on both sides.

“We were where we were supposed to be,” Griffin said afterwards. “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.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers confirmed some Rockets players were not in their locker rooms when they should have been, but wouldn’t dive into what happened much more.

“Let’s put it like this, our team was in our locker room,” Rivers said. “That’s all I’ll say. 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.”

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey seemingly downplayed that anything happened postgame, despite clear evidence and claims from both sides that unnecessary activity did occur after the game ended.

And here we have Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin, sharing social media posts of their own:

Griffin only wanted to tell Trevor Ariza he was still going to his birthday party, while Chris Paul decided to throw some not-so-subtle shade at Griffin after the game.

And what’s a night without Patrick Beverley getting his fair share of words in — which was ‘liked’ by Blake Griffin.

Naturally, players, former players and fans were having the time of their lives with the whole situation.

The Rockets and Clippers play each other two more times this season, with their next meeting coming on February 28 — inside Staples Center.

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