It’s still a little bit unclear why several Rockets players, including Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Gerald Green, reportedly decided to try and make their way into the Clippers’ locker room following a Houston loss to Los Angeles on Monday night. But one thing is for sure: The Rockets were not happy with the way things played out at the end of the game, and they tried to take matters into their own hands by attempting to confront several Clippers players, including Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin, before Staples Center security stepped in and stopped them from doing it.
On Wednesday, the NBA concluded its investigation into the incident and determined that Ariza and Green were in the wrong when they went to the Clippers’ locker room to try and iron out their issues with Griffin and Rivers, and both Rockets players were handed two-game suspensions for their role in the situation. The Rockets were reportedly unhappy about the fact that Ariza and Green were suspended, while Griffin and Rivers went unpunished, but it sounds like the league determined that Ariza and Green were the aggressors during the incident and caused it to turn into a bigger deal than it had to be.
Despite the way things played out, it appears as though whatever beef may have existed between the two teams has fizzled, and more specifically, it appears as though Ariza and Rivers have hashed out whatever differences they had on Monday night.
Shortly after the Clippers beat the Nuggets on Wednesday night, Rivers spoke with ESPN.com and revealed that he talked with Ariza by phone for about 35 minutes on Tuesday to bury the beef the two players had. They did some major trash talking at the end of the Rockets/Clippers game on Monday night that, at least in part, factored into the Rockets players storming the Clippers’ locker room. But Rivers told ESPN.com he doesn’t have any problems with Ariza following the incident.
"First and foremost, me and Trevor have no problems," Rivers said, before suggesting Ariza reached out to him after everything that happened. "He called me. He reached out to me. Trevor and I talked and hashed everything out. He was really cool about being the bigger guy and calling me."
Rivers also explained what led to him and Ariza going at it on Monday night. Rivers didn’t even play in the game due to an injury, but he ended up getting into it with Ariza after talking trash from the Clippers’ bench.
"The whole game was filled with cheap shots. So I’m not calling anyone out," Rivers said. "But he had given Blake a little something and he walked towards our bench. So what do you expect is going to happen? I started talking to him. If I cheap-shotted James Harden, their best player, and I walked down by the Houston bench, you don’t think anybody on their bench would’ve started talking to me? Okay then."
But Rivers said it was ultimately a misunderstanding that led to Ariza going after him. Rivers claimed he yelled "Do it!" at Ariza at one point, which led to Ariza firing back at him on the bench and later going after him in the Clippers’ locker room.
"He didn’t hear what I said," Rivers said. "[So Ariza] turned around and said, 'What the fuck did you just say to me?' Then he called me some stuff. And I’m a grown man. I’m not going to take nothing from nobody, just like he wouldn’t. So I took offense to it. And he didn’t know what I said. So after the game, he came in the locker room and his whole thing was, 'What’d he say? What’d he say?'"
Rivers may be back on good terms with Ariza, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be patching things up with Ariza’s teammate Chris Paul anytime soon. He reportedly hasn’t spoken to Paul since the incident on Monday night.
That means tensions will probably still be sky high between the Rockets and Clippers when they meet again next month, and they could be even higher than they were earlier this week if Rivers is back on the court and playing again by then.