LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their second straight game begin the season in the home opener in a 124-115 loss against the Houston Rockets.
However, that quickly took a backseat to what transpired late in the fourth quarter with what unfolded with just over four minutes left in regulation as a fight took center stage with point guards Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul exchanging punches. This had occurred quickly after Paul stuck his finger into Rondo’s face that led to the reaction that the Lakers veteran guard had to get physical.
At that same token, a few of the Rockets players have voiced after the game that Rondo may have spit at Paul that subsequently led to Rockets guard to choose to put his hand in his face.
“It was bullshit. Plain and simple. Unacceptable,” Carmelo Anthony said. Both Melo and Harden were upset with Rondo’s alleged spit on Chris Paul.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) October 21, 2018
Despite this chatter about the spitting from Rondo, the Lakers seemed to have stuck firm to the notion that the 32-year-old didn’t do that after watching the film, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
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
All this then led to the two being separated while forward Brandon Ingram rushed to Rondo’s defense to throw a right-handed punch that he missed hitting Paul before being pulled back by Carmelo Anthony and Lonzo Ball. Meanwhile, LeBron James pulled Paul back from the fray. Prior to this entire incident getting more riled up was the jabbering back and forth that James Harden and Ingram had after the 20-year-old was called for a foul. In total, this saw Rondo, Paul, and Ingram all get ejected from the game.
This had occurred with it being a one-point game with the Rockets leading 109-108, which quickly saw the momentum shift in their favor with them closing out the game with Harden scoring eight of his game-high 36 points with Harden taking over.
“The [altercation] was unfortunate,” head coach Luke Walton said. “I thought our guys did a nice job tonight of competing. We’re still in this beginning stage. I know I’ve been saying it the whole time we’re getting better. We had another chance tonight. It was a close game against a really good team, coming off a bad loss.
“That’s what we wanted -chances and opportunities to win. We’ve been there and had both those game. We haven’t been able to finish the games off but we’ve been there, so we’ll get back.”
These actions should likely lead to suspensions handed down to Rondo, Paul, and Ingram for their actions in the altercation on the court that will likely be handed down in the near future. There should also be more details and clarity to the matter as to what exactly occurred in the entire situation.
Bob Garcia IV
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