Tuesday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks took their rivalry to a different place. While the Rockets beat the Mavericks, 123-107, the story of the night was the eight technical fouls, two flagrant fouls, and the ejection that sent Trevor Ariza to the locker room.
The incident between Ariza and Mejri reportedly stems from comments that spurred Ariza’s ejection between the third and fourth quarters.
Ariza then decided to wait for Mejri outside the Dallas locker room with his teammates, with ESPN reporting that Mavericks PG Deron Williams even came out to meet them and try to defuse the situation.
Ariza, Harden, Beverley, and Gordon all left without incident and without confronting Mejri.
Mejri, by the way, denies having said anything to Ariza, instead saying it was the Rockets swingman instigating.
“He was swearing and bulls—. Ask him. He’s out there. Ask him,” Mejri said to media after the game.
Meanwhile, there was five technical fouls from the Rockets and three from the Mavericks over the course of the game, a flagrant foul on Dwight Powell, and a flagrant on Andrew Bogut after a sliding down screen sent his shoulder into Harden’s face.
The game was tensed with conflict, including Patrick Beverley sarcastically chiding Dallas coach Rick Carlisle after the final horn, “Don’t be mad at us coach! Way to be an icon coach! Have a nice season coach!”
After the game, Harden was notably upset with the Mavericks.
“I don’t know what they were on tonight,” Harden said. “That other team was tripping tonight. They were disrespectful, were unprofessional players and coaches. I don’t know what was their problem, but I think that got us going. They wanted to throw a little cheap shot and just woke us up a little bit, and it was over from there.”
Unfortunately, these two teams don’t meet again this season. Houston won all four prior contests between the two this year.