After dropping their season opener to the Portland Trail Blazers, excitement was abound Saturday night as the Los Angeles Lakers faced the Houston Rockets in their first home game of the 2018-19 NBA season.
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LeBron James said he, the team and fans alike were all looking forward to the matchup, but by the end of the night that wound up being a subplot. A foul call on Brandon Ingram led to him shoving James Harden out of frustration and that sparked a full-on fight.
Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul threw punches at one another, and as they were being separated, Ingram entered the fray and landed a right hook on Paul’s face. What ignited the incident was unclear.
In the time since, it’s been alleged Rondo spit on Paul, which the the Lakers’ point guard vehemently denies, per Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Lakers’ Rajon Rondo is adamant there was no spit toward Rockets’ Chris Paul tonight and is livid over the accusation. Lakers spoke with Rondo and looked over tape in which neither side saw such behavior.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 21, 2018
Rondo’s stance is one the Lakers also have after watching video of the fight, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Sources: Lakers officials watched tape and are backing Rajon Rondo’s contention that he didn’t spit on Chris Paul. Meanwhile, CP3 and Rockets are insisting that Rondo did spit. “Lot of history between them,” one source connected to both players says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 21, 2018
Ingram, Rondo and Paul were all ejected from the game. Each also faces suspension, which could be rendered as early as Sunday. While the Lakers are off, the Rockets are due to face the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back.