LOS ANGELES -- There's still no love lost between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.
According to three people with knowledge of the situation, the teams that went back and forth in a brilliant Game 7 of their first-round playoff series on Saturday night (a 126-121 Clippers win) followed the on-court action by engaging in a heated verbal back-and-forth in the tunnel that connects the locker rooms at Staples Center. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The incident came in two waves, with most of the Warriors in the hallway at one point along with several Clippers. The police were called to assist, though it's not believed any punches were thrown.
While all the details of the situation were not immediately clear, it's believed that Warriors big man Marreese Speights was among the aggressors for the Warriors while point guard Chris Paul was allegedly the irritant for the Clippers — though maybe even in silence. As was described by the witnesses, Paul came along as the incident appeared to be dying down and his mere presence picked things up again.
For all the talk of Blake Griffin and how he gets under his opponents' proverbial skin, Paul is the one who has been driving the Warriors mad for quite some time now. He wasn't alone, though, as Matt Barnes and Glen Davis were also among the other Clippers players seen at the scene. The Warriors' Jermaine O'Neal, Stephen Curry and Steve Blake were also involved, with Golden State coaches — including head coach Mark Jackson — eventually coming out when the situation escalated.
As the Warriors had to swallow the loss and saw their season come to an end, there was loud celebrating in the hallway not far from where they stewed and perhaps some choice words from sources unknown that sparked their rage. Then, one person said, a loud remark was made several times into the Warriors locker room about how quiet it was inside and that prompted several Warriors players and coaches to come out. The Warriors, who found only Clippers ballboys when they first left their locker room, were under the impression that it came from a Clippers assistant coach.
After a season in which they battled over everything from pregame chapel to the timeless complaints about Griffin's acting habits to Griffin's accusation that the Warriors played "cowardly basketball," this comes as no surprise. Speights voiced his view of Paul after the Warriors' Game 2 loss in Los Angeles.
"It's not really Blake Griffin; it's all Chris Paul for real," the former Memphis Grizzlies big man said as he sat near the loading dock. "Chris Paul starts all of that stuff. Before Chris Paul came here, the team was not like that. It's just two teams going hard at each other."