Monday night's game featuring the NBA's Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers was one of the most highly-anticipated games in recent memory. Rockets star Chris Paul returned to the Staples Center to face his former team, and tensions were evidently high throughout.
The Clippers pulled out a 113-102 victory, but the drama was far from over after the final buzzer sounded. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, things escalated and got ugly when Rockets players looked to confront Clippers' guard 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
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 officials and police were called as Gerald Green, James Harden (who was sideliend with a hamstring injury), and Trevor Ariza tried to confront Rivers and Blake Griffin. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer also had to show up in order to stop the chaos.
Griffin and Paul looked to be trash-talking one another throughout the night, and tension seems high between the former teammates. After the chaos was taken care, Griffin posted this colorful tweet:
Earlier on Tuesday, Wojnarowski tweeted that "there will be no shortage of punished individuals," as the league launches an investigation into the incident.
Paul and Griffin spent six years together with the Clippers, leading the team to the playoffs each year. Despite five-straight 5o-plus win seasons, the Clippers never advanced past the second round of the postseason.
Last offseason, both Paul and Griffin faced uncertain futures with the franchise. Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets seven players, cash and a first-round pick. The package was centered around sixth man Lou Williams and point guard Patrick Beverley. Griffin re-signed with the Clippers for the maximum $173 million over five years.
But the two franchises are heading into opposite directions. The Rockets are second in the Western Conference with a 30-12 record, while the Clippers are in a three-way tie for the seventh and eighth seeds at 22-21.
Thankfully, police and security were able to prevent a mega brawl. Though these don't usually happen in the NBA, fans can't forget the Malice in the Palace brawl involving the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons in 2004. Nine players were suspended in an incident between the two teams and fans.
If the playoffs started today, the Rockets and Clippers would meet in the first round. This rivalry appears to be far from over, though it may have already reached its boiling point.
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