LA Clippers guard Austin Rivers said he and Houston Rockets swingman Trevor Ariza spoke for 35 minutes this week to hash out their differences after Monday’s heated confrontations on the court and later in the Clippers locker room.
“First and foremost, me and Trevor have no problems,” Rivers told ESPN in a lengthy interview after the Clippers win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. “He called me. He reached out to me. Trevor and I talked and hashed everything out. He was really cool about being the bigger guy and calling me.”
Earlier Wednesday Ariza and Houston guard Gerald Green were suspended for two games apiece by the NBA for aggressively entering the Clippers locker room after the game. That followed a contentious exchange between Rivers, who was on the bench in street clothes, recovering from an ankle injury, and Ariza during the game.
“The whole game was filled with cheap shots. So I’m not calling anyone out. But he [Trevor] had given Blake a little something and he walked towards our bench. So what do you expect is going to happen? I started talking to him. If I cheap-shotted James Harden, their best player, and I walked down by the Houston bench. You don’t think anybody on their bench would’ve started talking to me? Okay then.”
Rivers said he yelled out, “Do it! Do it!” to Ariza and that both cameras and Ariza would verify that. But at the time, “he didn’t hear what I said. [So Ariza] turned around and said, ‘What the f— did you just say to me?’ Then he called me some stuff. And I’m a grown man. I’m not going to take nothing from nobody, just like he wouldn’t. So I took offense to it. And he didn’t know what I said. So after the game he came in the locker room and his whole thing was, ‘What’d he say? What’d he say?”
After the game, Rivers said that Ariza reached out to several of his former Rockets teammates, who were traded to the Clippers in the Chris Paul trade during this past offseason, and Montrezl Harrell brokered a phone call between the two.
“Trev called me and was like, ‘My bad man. I thought you said something. Obviously the game was emotional. I was like, ‘My bad man, I wasn’t trying to antagonize.'”
Rivers admitted that as an injured player, he was trying to get under the Rockets skin all game. But he’s decided to speak publicly on this because he feels “trash talk can get confused with fight talk” and “I don’t want people thinking I say disrespectful things to people. I keep all my trash talk to basketball. I don’t ever go after anybody.”