This was not how Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted people to celebrate a day named after him.
Tempers flared up near the end of Monday’s game between the Houston Rockets and the L.A. Clippers, when both Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and Clippers forward Blake Griffin traded words that forced game officials to toss them out of the game.
Apparently, things did not cool right away between the two sides even after the final buzzer reverberated around the stadium. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, a few Rockets players, including James Harden, tried to invade the Clippers’ locker room, looking for a very specific individual: Austin Rivers. Fortunately, the Staples Center’s security people stepped into the picture before the situation got out of hand.
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
Prior to that, Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints overheard loud, angry voices coming from the Rockets’ locker room.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 16, 2018
Ashley Brewer of ABC Los Angeles, meanwhile, reported that apart from the stadium’s security, police were also asked to intervene.
LAPD was called into the locker room area. Now hearing Chris Paul stayed out of it, 3 Rockets players were going after Austin Rivers.
— Ashley Brewer (@ESPNAshley) January 16, 2018
James Harden did not participate in the game due to a hamstring injury, but it is expected to make his return this Thursday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. That, however, could be put in jeopardy, as the NBA could be handing a few fines/suspensions following this incident.
Rivers also did not even play in the game because of a bruised heel, but probably got the ire of Houston players because he was all over taking trash to Ariza during the heated contest.
Austin Rivers bout that life talking trash to Trevor Ariza pic.twitter.com/s6o2dKtDWG
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) January 16, 2018
The Clippers won the game, 113,102, on the strength of shooting guard Lou Williams’ 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the floor. Griffin added 29 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.
Both teams will meet two more times this season, including a Feb. 28 date at Staples Center again. Needless to say, all eyes will be on that game.