Don't try any of that he said, she said, they all said tomfoolery on the Los Angeles Clippers, because they're not having it. Any of it.
Reports had surfaced that Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were at odds and that both were growing agitated with Chris Paul.
By "reports," I'm namely referring to one reporter for the Los Angeles Times who broke the story and shall remain nameless.
The reporter in question is T.J. Simers, who wrote the following:
The feel-good Clippers are gone, with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin's immaturity dragging the team down.
Jordan wants nothing to do with Coach Vinny Del Negro because he blames Del Negro for burying him on the bench.
The other night in Sacramento, Griffin and Jordan exchanged words on the bench. Griffin told Jordan he best never again stare him down as he did when Griffin failed to give Jordan a good pass for a dunk.
Everyone else was left to sit there while waiting for the kids to stop bickering.
The pair have also grown tired of Chris Paul's voice, which is understandable at times.
It sure seems like the Clippers have some problems on their hands, doesn't it?
Griffin and Jordan appear to be just two doofy, over-sized kids who can't grow up, and Los Angeles' star point guard is now being compared to one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen in Kobe Bryant. You could cut the tension with a knife.
Did I say "tension"? I meant applesauce.
That's how bonkers this seems. The Clippers have been praised for their off-court chemistry all season, and Paul himself has stated he believes the team has been so successful because of their chemistry, not in spite of it. And we're supposed to believe that there's issues within the locker room?
Puh-lease. Times 50.
Anyone who has watched this team and seen the players interact can tell their relationships with one another aren't a major issue. There is some miscommunication at times during games, errant decisions and, apparently, some minor scuffles, but they're a cohesive team. Both on the floor and off it.
So cohesive, in fact, that the Clippers staged a scripted argument that wasn't an argument at all. It was instead meant to quell rumors of their emotional demise (via Vincent Bonsignore of the Press-Telegram):
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan shouted across the locker room Sunday to Chris Paul.
"I don't like you, Chris," Jordan yelled out.
Paul didn't flinch.
"I don't care," Paul answered.
Meanwhile, Clippers forward Blake Griffin turned to Jordan, whose locker is near his, and snipped:
"Get out of my way DeAndre. Move," Griffin shouted.
Jordan didn't back down.
"I don't like you, Blake Griffin," Jordan screamed.
Finally, all three players shared a hearty laugh.
Had they been serious, perhaps the Clippers would be in
deep applesauce trouble. But they were joking, like friends do. Almost as if they (gasp) like each other.
Go figure. A team in the midst of contending for a title—that also previously snagged 17 consecutive victories and set a franchise record for wins in a single season—that actually likes each other.
It's a daunting concept to grasp, I know. But let's try.
No doubt Jordan probably isn't thrilled about finding himself on the bench in the most crucial of situations. Who would be? Players who want to, you know, actually play don't beg their coaches to spend time on the bench, especially in the fourth quarter.
But if Jordan wants to play when the game is on the line, he should improve upon that 39.1 percent foul-shooting clip of his before he harbors any unresolved animosity toward head coach Vinny Del Negro. Seriously, Jordan's is a mark that makes Dwight Howard seem as automatic from the free-throw line as Stephen Curry.
As far as Griffin being a child, well, he is only 24. I've seen "kids" older than him do worse than bicker with a teammate during the heat of battle.
And what's wrong with a little internal jawing? Obviously, it's not ideal, but sometimes it can be productive. Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal argued their way toward three championships and look how that turned out.
Paul being annoying, though? That's incredible. It's irreversible. It's, well, normal.
Will locker room issues prevent the Clippers from contending for a title?
I wouldn't go as far as to say that he's the Black Mamba. I truthfully couldn't imagine him questioning Howard's toughness or forcing Metta World Peace back from injury a month early (I'm so kidding about that one) the way Kobe has.
Still, leaders push buttons; they push their teammates. That's they're job—to make those around them better. If that entails stepping on some toes, fracturing some egos and depriving the "kids" of dessert after victories, then so be it.
"I need to work on being a better leader," Paul said when asked about being "annoying" (via Simers).
He, Griffin and Jordan must also do a better job of hating each other.
Because they're terrible at it.
All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.