Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green will lose two games for charging through a Staples Center tunnel and trying to confront the Los Angeles Clippers. Their All-Star teammates, Chris Paul and James Harden, escaped suspension.
The saga is weird and dumb. We’ve learned today that Ariza is reported to be the aggressor, but before Rockets practice today, Harden claimed that 99% of the reporting around the incident has been false. Ariza similarly denied the reports. Neither decided to correct the record, citing the NBA investigation.
Trevor Ariza says he has already spoken with the league office about Monday’s #Rockets-Clippers events, but he can’t discuss it since the investigation is ongoing. Says the stories that have been circulated are not accurate: pic.twitter.com/Yr5Ba4DHSw— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) January 17, 2018
The Rockets will be asked about this again, assuredly, Thursday when they play the Timberwolves. James Harden is likely to play in that game, but this has been the story of the league since Monday night, and even the MVP frontrunner coming back after missing seven games is not going to put a dent in the zeitgeist.
Losing Ariza hurts. He’s leading the team in minutes and has been the stabilizing constant ever since he’s returned to Houston. Luckily, Luc Mbah a Moute returned from injury against the Clippers, so the loss of all those wing minutes will not be as painful. Don’t be surprised if R.J. Hunter finds the floor either.
Blake Griffin was not suspended for his role in the shenanigans on Monday night, despite being ejected, despite bumping into Mike D’Antoni. Harden and Paul also made their way into the tunnel — although maybe they didn’t leave the tunnel and that’s why they didn’t get suspensions? — so the NBA, as it is wont to do, clearly decided to apply different rules to players based on their star power.
Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA executive Vice President, basketball operations, explains why James Harden and Chris Paul were not disciplined concerning their actions following the #Rockets loss to the Clippers Monday night: pic.twitter.com/sV0gCYWhTy— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 18, 2018
A strange situation was always going to have a confusingly illogical resolution. Maybe now that the investigation is concluded, we’ll finally learned what happened between these two teams. If we don’t, they’ll meet again Feb. 28 and the league will be watching.