The sparks were flying at the Moda Center on Wednesday when Blazers center Chris Kaman sparked a skirmish by shoving Clippers guard Chris Paul to the court with both hands during the third quarter of L.A.'s 126-122 road win.
With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter and Portland leading 92-81, C.J. McCollum missed a three-pointer from the right corner. Kaman grabbed the offensive rebound but had the ball stripped by Paul, who appeared to make contact with Kaman below the belt in the scramble for possession along the baseline.
[daily_cut.NBA] The 7-foot Kaman, apparently retaliating to that contact, walked toward Paul and deliberately shoved him with both hands on the back, knocking the 6-foot Paul to the court before jogging away.
The intentional contact immediately drew a reaction from Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who attempted to give chase toward Kaman before LaMarcus Aldridge stepped in to head him off with a shove. During that exchange, Davis appeared to lose his balance and stumbled to the court himself. Finally, cooler heads prevailed.
Somewhat remarkably, no one was ejected. Kaman was assessed a flagrant foul 1, a designation that applies to contact that is deemed "unnecessary." Paul, Aldridge and Davis all escaped sanction for their roles in the exchange.
The tense atmosphere could be attributed to, in part, a tight playoff chase. Portland entered the night with a 48-25 record while L.A. sat at 49-26. The two teams would face each other in the first round of the playoffs if the regular season ended today.
Paul finished with a game-high 41 points, 17 assists, five rebounds and four steals, joining Kevin Johnson and Tim Hardaway as the only players to post 41/17 in a regular season game since the start of the 1985-86 season. J.J. Redick added 25 points and eight rebounds, while Blake Griffin chipped in 24 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with a team-high 29 points and six rebounds. Nicolas Batum added 21 points, four rebounds and four assists.