Clippers-Warriors Rivalry Hits New Level with Chapel Tradition Snub

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

Oct 31, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA;   NBA referee Mark Ayotte (56) and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) separate center DeAndre Jordan (6) after he was fouled by Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (far left) in the second quarter of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors rivalry has a little bit of everything.

When you're scouring for key ingredients of a great NBA rivalry, you may come across two teams with title implications, superstar point guards and intrastate dislike for each other. But rarely will you find bad blood spilled over on some church pews.

Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times has the details of this latest twist:

It’s a long-standing tradition for Christians on both teams to have chapel together. Each NBA arena offers this service to the players, and there is usually one time and one room.

That wasn’t the case Thursday.

According to multiple sources, the Warriors were surprisingly given a separate, earlier, time for their own chapel services. The Clippers held their own private chapel.

“Man, they don’t want to have chapel with us?” one team source asked. “I never heard that before, but OK.”

No, you didn't read that wrong. "The Clippers declined to even pray with the Warriors … because, y’know, basketball I guess," wrote Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports.

This one's dicey.

There are some questions that probably deserve asking, but to avoid a lengthy religious debate, let's just call this a bit much.

But it does help explain the chippiness from Thursday's Pacific Division showdown at Staples Center. As the teams were busy lighting up the scoreboard for a combined 241 points, their distaste for one another was evident.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson and Blake Griffin exchanged words on the sideline. Andrew Bogut and DeAndre Jordan traded shoves late in the second quarter.

Chris Paul didn't try to soften his words after the game. "Both teams don't really like each other," Paul said, via Thompson. "It is what it is."

The Warriors took three of four games in this series last season, with both sides taking exception to how the other one acted when victorious. But the Clippers struck first in 2013-14, apparently long before outlasting the Warriors 126-115 in front of a national audience on TNT.

Although Paul told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times that this slight may not have been what it seemed: "They want to nitpick over something. They just want to fight over something. We do it during the playoffs, so we did it during the regular season."

Maybe this chapel beef isn't as bad as it sounds. 

Even if we can't figure out how to process this layer of the rivalry, we can appreciate what each team brings to the floor. Our eyes didn't deceive us on Thursday night; this rivalry is every bit as good as it looks.