NBA is investigating locker-room incident involving the Clippers and Rockets

NBA is investigating locker-room incident involving the Clippers and Rockets

The NBA has started its investigation into the incident involving the Clippers and Rockets in which several Houston players unsuccessfully tried to enter L.A.’s locker room after Monday night’s game at Staples Center.

The Clippers coaching staff was addressing the players after their win when they heard a lot of noise and then saw the faces of Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, James Harden and Gerald Green trying to enter the locker room through a hall that connects both teams’ locker rooms, according to several officials who saw what happened.

Security intervened and prevented any of the players from entering, but the Rockets players were swearing at the Clippers and were “close” to getting in when they were stopped.

Also, Rockets center Clint Capela tried to enter one of the rooms where the Clippers work, but he was not allowed in, according to the officials.

The NBA will determine if there will be fines or even possible suspensions.

The game took on an ugly tone in the fourth quarter when Blake Griffin and Houston coach Mike D’Antoni exchanged words after the Clippers forward had scored while being fouled by Paul.

D’Antoni told reporters that Griffin had intentionally “hit me” on a previous possession after Griffin had run up court and veered toward D’Antoni.

Griffin and D’Antoni, who were hit with double-technical fouls, swore at each other on the sideline after the Paul foul.

“Well, after he said what he said, I said the same thing back,” Griffin said.

With 1:03 left, Griffin and Ariza exchanged words, but it occurred after Ariza and Austin Rivers, who was sitting on the bench with an injured ankle, started talking trash to each other.

Griffin and Ariza both were ejected from the game.

As Griffin walked off the court with his second technical foul, he took off his jersey and threw it into the stands, yelling and swearing as he walked to the locker room.

Here are four more takeaways from the Clippers’ 113-102 victory over the Rockets:

2. In the process of dropping 31 points on the Rockets, Lou Williams had another noteworthy performance.

It was his 13th straight game of scoring at least 20 points, the NBA’s longest active streak this season.

3. Tyrone Wallace again has proved that it was wise for the Clippers to sign him to a two-way contract.

He had 12 points against the Rockets.

Wallace has scored in double figures in five of the six games he played in for the Clippers.

4. It was a nice all-around by Wesley Johnson.

At times he chased around Paul on defense.

At times Johnson was rebounding, collecting 12, the most he has had with the Clippers in his three seasons with them.

He had 11 points as well.

5. The Clippers shot the ball exceptionally well.

They made 55.7% of their shots, 40% (10-for-25) of their three-pointers.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

Published at Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:50:00 +0000

What we learned from the Lakers' 123-114 loss to the Grizzlies

Here’s what we learned in the Lakers’ 123-114 loss to Memphis:

Lonzo matters

Ignore the Big Baller Brand. Ignore the loudmouth patriarch. Ignore the hype.

Lonzo Ball, the basketball player, is absolutely critical to the Lakers.

The team has yet to win a game without him on the court this season, and that’s not a coincidence. He’s an active defender and the captain of the offense, getting the Lakers into rhythm and pushing the tempo to the point it needs to be at.

The Lakers aren’t a very good team when Ball is on the court, but they’re much worse when he’s not.

Ingram matters

The same can be said for second-year forward Brandon Ingram.

In a game like Monday’s, the Lakers desperately could’ve used his length and creative scoring ability early on. His work on defense wouldn’t have hurt either.

While there aren’t any real incentives to rush him back from his ankle injury or to hurry Ball back from his knee soreness, it at least seems like Ingram could make it back Wednesday in Oklahoma City against the Thunder.

The Lakers got surprised by the obvious

The biggest disappointment coming out of the loss in Memphis had to have been the Lakers’ lackluster energy.

Playing in Memphis on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Lakers had to be aware that the Grizzlies would be full of emotion. They’ve carved out a reputation over the past decade of being a physical team. Everyone in the league should know what to expect.

So, to go into Memphis and get “punked,” as coach Luke Walton said, is inexcusable. The Lakers had to know it was coming and they weren’t even a little ready for it.

No one really stepped up

When a team is missing its best two players, it creates opportunities for other players to take control of the situation, and Monday, the top candidates all flopped.

Brook Lopez, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson — all three capable of turning in a big game when it’s needed — all faltered. The trio combined to shoot 6-for-27 from the field.

The team got a good game from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart did some good things and Larry Nance Jr. filled the stat sheet but it wasn’t nearly enough.

For the Lakers to have won Monday — and for them to win Wednesday — they’ll need more from their established pros.

Gary Payton II will get more of a chance

The newest Laker played the entire fourth quarter and finished the game with a team-best +11 plus/minus. He was active on defense, blocking a pair of shots on the same possession, and it’s clear he’ll be able to compete athletically.

The playbook will be extremely limited with Payton on the court, but with Ball’s injury, Payton could be the team’s back-up point guard in the short term.

dan.woike@latimes.com

Twitter: @DanWoikeSports

Published at Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:00:00 +0000