Earlier this week, the NBA issued two-game suspensions for Houston Rockets forwards Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green for their alleged roles in a confrontation with Los Angeles Clippers players outside the Clippers locker room.
The pair missed last night’s home game 116-98 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and their punishment means they’ll miss another crucial game for the fight for number one against the defending NBA champions and Western Conference leader Golden State Warriors Saturday night.
Although Rockets stars James Harden, out of play recovering from injuries, and Chris Paul, who returned to the Staples Center to play his previous Clippers team for the first time since coming to Houston, reportedly also walked over with the duo who allegedly attempted to enter the LA team’s locker room and “talk” walked away from the situation unpunished.
While present during the altercation, league officials said they viewed their role as “peacemakers.”
Two Clippers players implicated in the confrontation, center Blake Griffin and guard Austin Rivers, also went unpunished.
NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced the suspensions and revealed his findings in a press release:
“What we determined…was that Ariza and Green entered the Clippers’ locker room in order to confront somebody or players. You can’t go in the (opponents’) locker room. Completely inappropriate.”
Griffin reportedly bumped into Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni late in the game, prompting D’Antoni to hurl an expletive at Griffin.
The two then allegedly engaged in an exchange, during which referees issued technical fouls to both parties.
However, VanDeWeghe described the contact as “minimal,” saying it “didn’t deserve a penalty.”
An ESPN report claimed Austin Rivers “continued the profane trash talk after the game, yelling loudly enough in the Clippers’ locker room for Ariza to hear him from the hallway.”
Rivers, recovering from an injury and son NBA coaching great Doc Rivers, also did not play in the game.
VanDeWeghe did not announce any punishment for Rivers’ actions.
Never a dull moment in La La Land.