No Love Lost: Tensions Between Griffin and Paul

Peyton Williams, Guest Columnist •

The National Basketball Association had itself a night to remember last week. Chris Paul, an all-time legend and historically great point guard, and his Houston Rockets returned to his former home at the Staples Center to face his former team, the Los Angeles Clippers. With that being said, it was obviously a night full of tension, excitement, and even bitterness. After six years as a Clipper, Paul recently left Los Angeles to add a new chapter to his career in Houston. Paul teamed up with a top-five player in James Harden to form a very skilled and tough-to-beat team in Houston. In Paul’s first game back to Los Angeles, his Rockets came in heavily favored.

After a competitive game full of back-and-forth strikes, Paul’s former team, the Los Angeles Clippers, actually came out on top and walked away victorious by a score of 113 to 102. Now, that in itself would have made huge headlines. However, that is the last thing that the fans were talking about that night. As the game was winding down, Paul’s former partner in crime, Blake Griffin, walked by Paul’s current head coach Mike D’Antoni and bumped him. It was no secret that Griffin did this intentionally to send a message to Paul and the rest of the Houston Rockets.

After this happened, the last couple minutes of the game were filled with even more aggression and hostility. Austin Rivers, the son of Paul’s former coach Doc Rivers, started barking words in Paul’s ear and trash talking him and ripping into him. As the game ended and tempers flared, most people thought the teams would go into their respective locker rooms and that would be the end of it. However, the battle between these two teams was far from over. After the game was finished and both teams headed to their locker rooms, Paul led Harden and two other Houston Rockets to the other end of the Staples Center to storm the Clippers’ locker room. The most damning report from the night was the fact that the Los Angeles Police Department was called to break things up because the security team couldn’t handle it.

As an NBA fan, this was a night that I had circled on my calendar, but I had it circled for a completely different reason. This was supposed to be a game that was highlighted for the sole reason that Chris Paul was returning to Los Angeles to face his former team. As the NBA decided a couple days after not to suspend Paul or Harden for their actions, I had to give my opinion as a huge fan of the NBA. As a fan and lover of basketball, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that two of the biggest names in the sport can cause a scuffle and fight so large that local law enforcement was forced to be notified. On top of that, these two were not punished, but Austin Rivers was. It doesn’t seem right that two biggest names caused the most trouble and walked away clean. Although this doesn’t change my opinion of these guys as basketball players, I hope that something like this never happens again. It doesn’t represent the league well and causes people to form opinions of these athletes that will never change.

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