While most of us were sleeping, Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets almost went to war with Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, it’s hysterical.
The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers were the final game on the Martin Luther King Day schedule. At 10:30 p.m. Eastern, they tipped off. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors played right before them, and that was the highlight of the day. However, the show in Hollywood stole the spotlight.
Los Angeles wound up winning the game 113-102. Lou Williams had 31 points and nine assists; Blake Griffin had 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Chris Paul, in his return to the STAPLES Center, had 19 points and seven assists. There was a fair amount of extracurriculars throughout the game, but nothing too over-the-top. It was what happened after the final buzzer that was gut-busting and utterly absurd. (I’m snickering to myself as I write about it.)
Thank you to the fine folks over at ESPN for putting together this video, tweeted from the SportsCenter account. With less than four minutes to go, things got heated. It started with poor officiating — surprise!
Eric Gordon went for a layup, which Wesley Johnson goaltended. After collecting the rebound, the Clippers were off and running, with Griffin streaking down the sideline. It appeared that he brushed Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni before getting a favorable continuation call on a foul that happened on the floor. Paul nearly exploded.
By that point, everyone was yelling at each other; D’Antoni screamed “F–k you!” at Griffin. The officials settled them all down temporarily because there was still a game to finish. Everything that followed went as such:
- Trevor Ariza ripped Griffin’s tights.
- Griffin, while tip-toeing on the sideline, threw the ball off of Eric Gordon, which would’ve been entirely fine if both sides didn’t already want to strangle each other.
- Ariza gave Griffin a slight elbow after a free throw.
- Ariza and met meet again, which led to their ejections. However, Austin Rivers, who only has one leg, joined in on the beef as well and was talking trash to Ariza while wearing a suit that featured a perfectly tied full Windsor knit.
That’s everything that transpired on the court. But this story would be rather dull if it ended there. Oh, it did not. And we should all be thankful that it continued.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was tweeting about the situation. He then published a story about it early Tuesday morning. It was incredible journalism. This whole thing seems to Rivers fault, because, according to Woj’s report, he had been “especially belligerent.” So, the only logical way is to have a confrontation, right? Well, I guess that’s what Chris Paul thought.
Paul’s one of the greatest floor generals ever to play, but he’s also apparently a great war general. He, James Harden, Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green marched through a SECRET TUNNEL that led to the Clippers’ locker room. Why does the Staples Center have a secret corridor? I don’t know. But I also don’t care. The report makes it seem that upon arrival, the four musketeers were ready to hand out fades to Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin.
Paul took note that it was unlikely the four of them could take on the entire Clippers team at once. So he did what any other rational person would do — use their 6-10 center as a trojan horse. Yes, Clint Capela got used as a diversion. While the rest of the squad was getting ready to enter the back door, Capela went and knocked on the front door.
The staff member who answered quickly shut the door on Capela, who retreated because he was “unsure how to proceed.”
After the game, Paul threw supreme shade, gushing about Lou Williams: “They got Lou Will. Lou Will is the guy; you know what I mean? That’s the go-to guy. That’s the guy they should play through and stuff like that. He’s having a great year, and he’s tough. He’s tough, man.”
Griffin also had an absorbing press conference. A reporter asked what he and Ariza said to each other, and Griffin explained how Ariza just asked him if he was still going to his birthday party. “Yeah, I’ma try,” said Griffin.
Being that it’s 2018, the fiasco couldn’t conclude until a couple guys posted about it on Twitter. Blake Griffin tweeted a GIF of the Joker walking away from the hospital he’s blowing up; Patrick Beverley, also injured, said “It’s a different culture in LA. No more soft shit here!”
This beef will continue throughout the regular season. The Clippers and Rockets face each two more times, and they could also see each other come playoffs if the seeding doesn’t deviate too much from where it is today.
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