Thursday update: The complete story about the locker room “fight” has come out, and the facts are a little bit different from what we all believed on Monday. Here’s the full story.
James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green pushed into the Clippers’ locker room looking for Austin Rivers, who was jawing with Ariza during the final moments of the fourth quarter.
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
Clint Capela was also reportedly one of the players who approached the Clippers’ locker room, according to Wojnarowski, but he was used as a distraction.
Sources: As the four Rockets marched through the back hallway into the Clippers locker room, center Clint Capela knocked on the front door of Clippers entrance. Someone opened door, saw him standing there -- and shut it on him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 16, 2018
Rockets center Tarik Black was also involved, according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, but was part of a verbal exchange outside of the locker room.
Sources: Houston's Chris Paul, along with Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green and Tarik Black, had a verbal exchange with Clippers’ Austin Rivers outside postgame locker room tonight, yelling and shoving and didn't escalate into physical altercation.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 16, 2018
Turner Sports sideline reporter Ros Gold-Onwude said the post-game events were “very much a rallying around Chris Paul.”
“It was an emotional chippy game and it did spill over into the hallways,” Onwude said. “From the Clippers side, I just spoke to some players. They continue to maintain, ‘Hey, we were in our locker room. They came to us.’
“I spoke to members of the Rockets team, who basically responded they didn’t like the attitude of the Clippers. They didn’t like the feeling that a player on their team was attacked. I said which player, was this about Chris Paul? And the teammate said yes, this was very much a rallying around Chris Paul. They have each other’s back. He said this team is very together and they’re always going to respond that way. And his other response, the way he closed it was interesting. He said, ‘We’re gonna see this team two more times. We will remember this.’”
In summary: this was Game of Thrones, NBA edition.
To summarize, HOU players James Harden, Trevor Ariza & Gerald Green were the ones who initially pushed into the Clippers locker room to confront Austin Rivers. CP3 then led another group of HOU players into the locker room through a back door to also confront Blake Griffin.— Delmy Barillas (@DelmyBarillas) January 16, 2018
Things reached a boiling point after Griffin was ejected in the final minute of the fourth quarter for jawing with Ariza, who was exchanging words with Rivers and Patrick Beverley.
One nearby pool reporter said Harden, who was inactive nursing a hamstring injury, and Paul got into an argument when he walked into the locker room after Houston’s 113-102 loss to Los Angeles. Things then escalated, with additional reports eventually surfacing that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was in the hallways leading to the locker rooms with security and police officers.
It was initially reported by multiple reports that Harden and Paul had gotten into an altercation. However, Paul denied any dust-up between he and Harden.
Chris Paul on reports that he had a confrontation with James Harden in the locker room: "That's Donald Trump fake news." With a laugh, he added, "Tell him I'm looking for him!"— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 16, 2018
This isn’t the first time the Rockets have confronted another team. They did something similar last season against the Mavericks.
Blake Griffin tweeted this at the end of the night.