THE tension stirred by Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul’s return to Los Angeles to face his old Clippers team spilled over to the dugout as a confrontation broke out after a frustrating 113-102 loss on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
Things already got testy between the Rockets and Clippers late in the game, with Paul running over to the referees in disbelief over a foul called on him against Blake Griffin. Houston coach Mike D’Antoni and Griffin were called for double technical fouls on the play. And before the game ended, Griffin was ejected along with Trevor Ariza after a verbal spat.
The tension carried over to the dugout, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, as Rockets players James Harden, Ariza and Gerald Green stormed the Clippers dugout to confront Austin Rivers.
Houston Rockets’ players James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green pushed into Clippers locker room post-game looking to confront Austin Rivers, league sources tell ESPN. Security escorted Rockets out before anything turned physical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2018
Sources told Wojnarowski that the Rockets trio also sought out Griffin as they entered the Clippers locker room along with Paul through a back door connecting the team’s dressing rooms.
Rockets players were clamoring for Blake Griffin too, league sources said. Chris Paul also entered with other Rockers players through a backstory that connects team dressing rooms. https://t.co/BRgyHe1WgL— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2018
Security at the Staples Center got the Rockets trio out of the dugout before things got physical between the players of both teams.
Things aleady got testy with 3½ minutes to go in the game. 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 on 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 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.
Paul got booed when he brought the ball up court for the first time. Some fans stood and applauded a video tribute to him during a timeout in the first quarter, when Paul waved from the bench, but most appeared to not have forgotten Paul's desire to leave last summer after six years without a title in Los Angeles.