Basketball: NBA investigating Rockets-Clippers post-game fracas - report

A member of the Houston Rockets' staff restraining forward Trevor Ariza (left) after he was ejected during the NBA match against the Los Angeles Clippers, on Jan 15, 2018.
A member of the Houston Rockets' staff restraining forward Trevor Ariza (left) after he was ejected during the NBA match against the Los Angeles Clippers, on Jan 15, 2018. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK (REUTERS)- The National Basketball Association (NBA) is investigating a post-game incident on Monday night (Jan 15) in which several Houston Rockets players went into the Los Angeles Clippers' locker room at Staples Center, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

The instigator reportedly was Houston's Trevor Ariza, with team-mates Chris Paul and James Harden trying to calm him, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Executives, coaches, players and security personnel talked with NBA officials on Tuesday, and the investigation was to continue on Wednesday, Wojnarowski reported.

With the Clippers celebrating a win over former team-mate Paul and the Rockets, the mood changed swiftly in the locker room when Ariza, Harden, Paul and Gerald Green entered through a back corridor at Staples Center, apparently seeking to confront Los Angeles' Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin.

ESPN reported tempers were high and Rockets players were looking for Rivers in particular after Los Angeles won a fifth consecutive game, 113-102.

"We were where we were supposed to be," Griffin said. "We were in our locker room. So whatever happens over there, I mean, we can't control what anybody else does. We control what we did. Everybody was in our seats. That's it. You should ask them."

The game went from chippy to full contact with fuses lit on both sides.

Paul, who spent six seasons with the Clippers and was honoured with a video montage before the game, lost his cool in the fourth quarter and the Rockets indicated Rivers, who did not play, was the key instigator.

According to Houston players interviewed by ESPN, Rivers was shouting expletives and challenging the Rockets while wearing a suit on the bench.

Paul would not share what he shouted at the Clippers' bench, but it did not appear to be pleasant.

"I don't know. You probably got it. With all the cameras in there, you can probably tell me what I said," Paul said. "Whatever it was, I'm sure my momma will let me know."

In addition to Rivers, DeAndre Jordan was out for the Clippers.

Harden also did not play as he recovers from a hamstring injury sustained Dec 31.

With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Griffin scored and was fouled by Paul.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni went ballistic, as did Paul, and both received technical fouls.

Two minutes later, Griffin sparked another fracas when he spiked the ball with full force off the back of Rockets guard Eric Gordon to save it from going out of bounds. The play led to technical fouls on Ariza and Rivers, both of whom were ejected.