LOS ANGELES (AP) – Chris Paul got here again to Staples Middle to play in opposition to his outdated staff and issues obtained heated.
The ultimate minutes of the sport have been full of technical fouls, ejections, swearing, bumping – and that was just the start.
Lou Williams scored 31 factors, Blake Griffin added 29 earlier than his ejection, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Paul and the Houston Rockets 113-102 on Monday evening for his or her fifth victory in a row.
The tempers that flared in the course of the fourth quarter carried over after the sport, when a number of safety guards have been current outdoors the Houston locker room. Citing nameless NBA sources, ESPN reported a number of Rockets gamers headed towards the Clippers’ locker room, looking for a confrontation, however have been escorted away by safety earlier than something obtained bodily.
Requested about that, Clippers coach Doc Rivers would solely say his staff was in its personal locker room.
“Their complete staff was not of their locker room,” he mentioned, referring to the Rockets.
Paul had 19 factors, six rebounds and 7 assists for the Rockets, whose three-game profitable streak ended.
“It is all the time like that while you lose, particularly while you’re enjoying in opposition to a former staff, all of the feelings that go into it, acquainted faces and stuff like that,” Paul mentioned. “For us, we have got to be higher. Give them the credit score, they received the sport.”
Issues obtained testy with 3½ minutes to go. Griffin scored beneath the basket and Paul was known as for a foul. Paul ran over to the referees in disbelief. On his method again up court docket, Griffin went out of bounds and bumped Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, who turned irate and cursed in Griffin’s course.
“After he mentioned what he mentioned, I mentioned the identical factor again,” Griffin mentioned.
Requested what he mentioned, D’Antoni replied, “You imply after he hit me? Simply that I did not recognize him. However aside from that, it is good.”
The referees reviewed video of the play and confirmed the foul on Paul, whereas additionally assessing double technicals to Griffin and D’Antoni.
“Coach advised me he (Griffin) elbowed him and I noticed him speaking loopy to Coach. I all the time obtained our coach’s again,” Paul mentioned. “You in all probability can inform me what I mentioned higher than I did. No matter it’s, I am certain my mama goes to inform me to clean my mouth.”
Rivers mentioned he did not see the Griffin-D’Antoni interplay, and added, “I do not assume a coach ought to ever get engaged with a participant personally, however I have been responsible of it earlier than.”
The group was on its ft with 1:12 to go after Griffin caught the ball close to the midcourt sideline and slammed it off Eric Gordon’s again to be able to maintain it from going out of bounds. 9 seconds later, Griffin and Trevor Ariza acquired double technicals after exchanging phrases, and each have been ejected.
“He requested me if I used to be nonetheless coming to his party and I mentioned, ‘Yeah, I’ll attempt,'” Griffin mentioned, smiling.
Griffin high-fived gamers on the Clippers’ bench as he stormed off the court docket, tearing off his jersey within the course of.
“I do know Blake was upset on the final play. He felt like any individual tried to do soiled to him,” Rivers mentioned. “I am glad no one obtained damage.”
Strolling into his postgame interview, Rivers joked: “We’re honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day; we’re non-violent.”
Griffin mentioned: “We have been the place we have been imagined to be; we have been in our locker room. We won’t management what anyone else does.”
Paul obtained booed when he introduced the ball up court docket for the primary time. Some followers stood and applauded a video tribute to him throughout a timeout within the first quarter, when Paul waved from the bench, however most appeared to not have forgotten Paul’s want to depart final summer season after six years with no title in Los Angeles.
Gordon, one other ex-Clipper, had 19 factors and Ariza added 17. Houston shot 40 p.c with injured star James Harden out.
Griffin and Williams dominated the third quarter, combining for 20 factors whereas extending the Clippers’ result in 92-84. Griffin ran off 9 in a row and Williams added two Three-pointers.
“It is an emotional recreation. It was a giant recreation for us to attempt to recover from .500,” Williams mentioned after his 13th straight recreation of 20 or extra factors.
TAKING IT PERSONAL
Williams insisted he harbors no ailing will towards the Rockets, who took him out of a shedding state of affairs with the Lakers solely to commerce him to the Clippers a short while later. However it nonetheless bothered him. “I am a really productive basketball participant,” he mentioned. “Lots of productive basketball gamers normally do not get traded that a lot, particularly in a brief time frame, so I took it very private.”
Rivers mentioned the Clippers did not point out Paul of their pregame discussions. “Chris was nice for us, however Chris determined to depart us,” Rivers mentioned. “We do not speak about him. We talked about the way in which to win the sport.”
Rockets: Harden (hamstring pressure) is on observe to return later this week. … In addition to Paul, the ex-Clippers on the Rockets’ roster are Gordon and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Clippers: C DeAndre Jordan (sprained left ankle) is prone to return Saturday at Utah. By then, he would have missed three straight video games. … The Clippers are 2-Zero vs. the Rockets, having received by 10 factors on Dec. 22. … LA is 11-Three in its final 14 video games regardless of a slew of accidents. … Williams, Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and injured Patrick Beverley are ex-Rockets.
Rockets: Host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday within the opener of a three-game homestand.
Clippers: Host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday to finish a three-game homestand.
Extra AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
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