In the 2018-19 home opener for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Houston Rockets, Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul exchanged punches after Brandon Ingram shoved James Harden and was hostile toward a referee.
Want to get your content COMPLETELY AD FREE? Follow us on Apple News!
As a surprise to most, Ingram only received four games with Rondo and Paul receiving three and two games, respectively.
With the Rockets playing the Clippers on back-to-back nights, Paul missed an opportunity to face his former teammates.
It did mean Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was in position to react to the Rondo-Paul fight as he previously coached both of them. According to Andrew Greif of Los Angeles Times, Rivers offered some background:
“They’ve had their run-ins,” Rivers said before Sunday’s tipoff against the Rockets, a game Paul missed as part of a two-game suspension handed down by the NBA. “I’m not actually sure what it’s all over. I know at one point they both wanted to be known as the best point guard but it’s got to be more than that. There always is and I don’t know what it is but there’s no love lost, there’s no doubt about that.”
Excluding the fight, Rivers also had a unique perspective on what it means for the league as a whole:
The rivalry between Rondo and Paul is “not all bad for our league,” Rivers said. He added he didn’t include fighting in that sentiment.
As Paul and Rondo have been two of the best point guards in the league for the past decade or so, the fight did not surprise those around them. At one point during their careers, they were reportedly nearly traded for each other before Paul was sent to the Clippers.
With the Rockets having experience playing without Paul, it could have been worse for the Lakers. As Ingram and Rondo sit out a stretch of this week’s games, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma are expected to see expanded roles for head coach Luke Walton.