While Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul became the story of a fight between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, the incident began because of frustration Brandon Ingram exhibited after a foul was called on him.
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Ingram shoved James Harden, then turned toward an official and appeared to have cr for him before Lance Stephenson intervened by ushering the young forward away. That’s when Rondo and Paul began to exchange words and punches.
Ingram saw that and rushed back toward the basket to throw a right hook of his own. Predictably, all three players were suspended by the NBA, and all things considered, the penalties were rather light.
That he only received a four-game ban was both a relief and surprise to Ingram, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
Brandon Ingram on the suspension: “It was better than we expected. I’m happy it was only 4 (games). I have to control my emotions better.” He added that he apologized to his teammates.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 22, 2018
And while he escalated the incident by coming back to punch Paul, Ingram said he does not regret defending his teammate, according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group:
Ingram: "It’s my full responsibility. I think I’m the one that caused action and I’m going to take full responsibility for every action that I did. 100 percent that I was wrong for my teammates but I also stepped up for my teammates and that is what I’m going 10 times out of 10."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 22, 2018
While Ingram is mild-mannered, he’s become involved in a fracas to be by a teammate’s side with regularity. With it costing him this time, Ingram will be replaced in the lineup by Kyle Kuzma while serving the first suspension of his career.