This entire NBA season has been an all-out brawl between the petty, the uninterested, the furious, and the unintimidated. Four months into the 2017-18 schedule, it already feels like the league has met its quota for bonkers events.
Monday night alone produced a short novel through a series of Woj tweets on the Rockets and Clippers madness.
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
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
But Chris Paul’s tunnel adventure was just the peak of what’s been an unusual stretch of scuffles and real-life fights. Tensions are high in the league, and that goes between players and referees, too. Everyone seems angry and ready to go. Well, maybe not Lonzo Ball — but mostly everyone. A random fight between Nemanja Bjelica and Arron Afflalo on Tuesday night affirmed that.
Let’s examine some of the most bizarre beefs and brawls of the season and rate them on a 1-10 scale of ridiculousness to recap.
Bobby Portis vs. Nikola Mirotic
A season of fights started before the first game of the year even tipped off, and it happened between a pair of teammates! In practice, Portis punched Mirotic and gave him a facial fracture and concussion that kept him out until the second week of December. Portis was suspended for eight games.
That’s a strange story in itself considering how few teammates beef to that point. But this isn't where the story ends.
Mirotic and Portis have played outstandingly well on the court together, and suddenly the Bulls aren’t terrible! Because of course. They even appear to be on-court friends.
Ridiculousness Rating: A perfect 10
Serge Ibaka vs. James Johnson
WHY WOULD YOU MESS WITH A BLACK BELT IN KARATE LIKE THAT, SERGE?
Ridiculousness Rating: 6
Goran Dragic vs. DeMar DeRozan
After the buzzer of the same Heat-Raptors game that Ibaka and Johnson fought in, Dragic and DeRozan went at each other for reasons we may never know.
The beef here isn’t clear aside from whatever words were exchanged in the moment.
A DeRozan-Dragic fight may have been my 500th prediction at who would scrap this season. Have I mentioned that this was a random League Pass game?
Ridiculous Rating: 6
Bradley Beal vs. Draymond Green
A fight happened involving Draymond, and it wasn’t at all started by Draymond. Bradley Beal, why would you do this?
This was a bizarre grappling fight that was really just a takedown with no punches. But the standout event is that Beal actually clawed Green’s jersey off.
That’s what makes this scuffle memorable.
Ridiculousness Rating: 7
Shaun Livingston vs. A Referee
In 14 seasons, Livingston had never been ejected. Leave it to the 2017-18 season to see him AND a referee get suspended for butting heads in a game.
Ridiculousness Rating: 9
LeBron James vs. Enes Kanter and Frank Ntilikina
Lathered in pettiness from statements made before the game, James bumped Ntilikina, and the Knicks rookie shoved back. James had vocalized his support for Dennis Smith Jr. in pregame interviews, who was passed by in the draft by New York in favor of Ntilikina. LeBron’s comments didn’t sit well for any of the Knicks, and Kanter in particular. So Kanter went on to defend his rookie.
What a beautiful mess this was.
Ridiculous Rating: 7
Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook
Everyone knows why these two hate each other, but who thought that a full year later, they’d still be going at each other like this?! Face-to-face!
The pettiness is through the roof.
Ridiculous Rating: 9
Lakers (except Lonzo Ball) vs. the Suns
I have never in my life seen, and may never again see a nine-person fight in which the 10th walks away. Lonzo really did it.
“It’s the NBA,” Ball said after the game. “People ain’t really going to fight. I ain’t trying to get no tech.”
It’s mature as hell, but wow, his teammates couldn’t have been pleased.
Ridiculousness Rating: A perfect 10
Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, James Harden, Decoy Capela, Gerald Green, and Tarik Black vs. Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers
Ridiculousness Rating: Infinity