NBA Monday Night Raw
Monday on Martin Luther King Jr Day, saw a scrappy day in the NBA. Especially with the homecoming of two guards. Kyle Lowry returned home to the mean streets of Philly to play the Sixers in the MLK matinee game and Chris Paul returned to LA to play his former team. Both games featured ejections, back stage blowups and one of them had an unexpected visit from the most feared police force in the world, the LAPD.
Tension has been rapidly rising with the Toronto Raptors lately and Lowry may have reached his breaking point Monday afternoon. Ben Simmons and the Raptor's guard had several altercations throughout the game but it was the final 25 seconds that led them to allegedly meet each other out back in the lockers. After Simmons stole the ball off Lowry it led to a Joel Embiid free throw. This is where they both got real mouthy eventually leading to their ejection. The Sixer's rookie then invited Kyle to the back locker room to finish what needed to be said.
As seen below, the Raptor's guard gladly accepted and sprinted to the back locker rooms with excitement and Ben suddenly had a look on his face that showed maybe he wasn't really "bout that life."
When asked about the confrontation, Simmons said " I don't know if they're trying to test me, or see how I am on the court, but I won't play around, I ain't gonna take sh** from anybody." Some bold words from a rookie.
Lowry responded, saying " I don't know, I guess he thinks he's somebody." Clearly you need to earn your stripes in the Association before All-Star guards even give you the time of day.
Later that night, the Clippers met the Rockets at the Staples Center. The Clippers gave a video tribute to CP3, honoring his tenure with the team. This may have got Blake Griffin's blood boiling a bit, reminding him of his second banana days because he went off this game nearly getting a triple double.
Things really started to heat up towards the end and a skirmish starring Blake led to an irate, Rocket's Head Coach Mike D'antoni, to drop some F bombs on the Clipper's forward. Griffin got his second technical of the night and during his ejection as he was exiting the hardwood he was showered with praise and appreciation from the LA crowd.
The chirping progressed and an injured Austin Rivers in street clothes decided he's going to chime in, feeling extra confident with his daddy Doc Rivers coaching at his side. After the whistle blew ending the game, CP3 led his troops through the tunnels and on his way to invade the Clipper's change room. Rockets Center, Clint Capela, knocked on the Clipper's change room and was greeted by a confused Clipper's staff member, who obviously refused to let him in. Clint was the perfect diversion and bought just enough time for the General Chris Paul, who was leading his brigade through different corridors (since he knows the lay of the land after playing in the Staples Center for over 5 years) to get to River's and company through a backdoor leading into the home team's dressing room.
Of course, this was just both parties blowing smoke and when they were able to confront each other face to face nothing physical went down. However, the LAPD was called and they had to give a police escort to the Rockets back to the airport, something that has never been done in the NBA. Not even in the 90's where some basketball games ended up like hockey games and not even in 2004 with the Malice in the Palace.
The best part about all of this was the reaction of the NBA panel with Shaq Diesel and Charles Barkley. Two former big men of the NBA who would never shy away to get down.
This was definitely one of the best Inside The NBA segments ever. Shaq and Chuck laughing hysterically at the fact LAPD was called on Chris Paul, while Kenny and Ernie keep it composed and strictly business as usual. Sure, only words were exchanged and not fists but the sheer entertainment from these theatrics is undeniable and becoming a trend lately with the NBA reaching a peak in pettiness. All in all, MLK day was a very weird day in the NBA.