LeBron James’ introduction to Staples Center on Saturday was marred due to a brawl in the fourth quarter. After a routine foul called on the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram, players on both sides became heated, leading to thrown punches by Ingram, Rajon Rondo and the Rockets’ Chris Paul.
The play that initiated the fight was a fastbreak foul called on Ingram as he attempted to stop James Harden from completing a layup. Ingram, who had been frustrated by calls and no-calls all game, shoved Harden and blew up at the referee as he was whistled for a technical foul.
After Ingram was held back by teammates, players from both teams congreggated in a circle on the court. Soon after, Rajon Rondo punched Chris Paul after the latter poked the former in the face. Paul retaliated with a punch and Ingram ran back into the circle and connected a punch to Paul as well before players were separated.
Here’s what went down
Brandon Ingram shoved James Harden, they get separated 😳
Chris Paul pokes Rajon Rondo aggressively and they start throwing punches 😳 pic.twitter.com/h8QQym2mC6
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) October 21, 2018
Ingram, Rondo and Paul were all ejected after the incident. The Rockets went on to win the game.
Paul has alleged that Rondo spat on him, instigating the situation and a fan video shows that may have been the case. Rondo and the Lakers are reportedly claiming that it was unintentional and a result of wearing a mouthguard.
Oh, WOW! pic.twitter.com/qYmDTikvks
— 3 W’s? (@RedNationBlogga) October 21, 2018
The NBA is expected to issue additional punishments to all three players on Sunday. The league’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe was in attendance and began his investigation after the game.