(Los Angeles, CA) – Not the kind of debut that he wanted, I’m sure. But, you can’t control other people’s actions. Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and Brandon Ingram are probably wishing they had a better grip on their emotions though as the three found themselves ejected, fined and most likely suspended following a wild brawl that broke out during LeBron James’ home court debut as a Laker.
It was late in the 4th quarter, Rockets up by 1 (109-108) when James Harden was driving to the basket and gets fouled by Brandon Ingram. While Paul, Harden and others pleaded with the officials to count the basket, Ingram gave Harden a hard shove. Carmelo Anthony steps in to help deescalate the situation while Brandon Ingram continues his rage and gets in the face of a referee.
At that point, his teammate Lance Stephenson gathers Ingram and forces him away from the incident. Meanwhile, Chris Paul is continuing his debate with a ref and you casually see Rajon Rondo make his way over to Paul and seemingly confronts him.
Now, here’s where things get sketchy. From our angle it looks as if Paul and Rondo exchange words and Paul strategically uses one or two fingers to make contact with Rondo’s face and pushes him out of his personal space. His reasoning behind the mush, Chris says Rajon spit in his face. Which is flat out the most disgusting, demeaning and disrespectful act any human could do to another. It’s nasty. And you will likely find yourself in a subsequent altercation, if you do it. Punches are thrown between the two (in front of Floyd Mayweather who I’m sure got a kick out of it courtside) and Brandon Ingram reinserts himself in the drama with a sneak punch from behind.
End result….Paul, Rondo and Ingram are ejected.
Back to the game, MVP James Harden, who had 23 at the half, continued his domination grabbing 36 on the game and leading the Rockets to victory. Paul had 28. The Rockets had 4 players in double digits while the Lakers led by James with 24 had 7.
Rajon Rondo was en route to a triple double (13p-10r-7a) when he was thrown out of the game. Chris Paul was en route to a triple double as well adding 10 assists and 7 rebounds to his 28 points when he was booted. Final score, Rockets 124-115.
Post game: When asked how he felt the fight affected the team for the remainder of the game? LeBron James said, “We were right there. It was one point game and um…we had opportunities to win the game.”
One one game suspension is probable for all three, but it could be more.