What was shaping to be an exciting finish in the first home game of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers took a turn for the worst when Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo were at the center of a fight with Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul.
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Paul and Rondo were not initially involved when the matter began — on Ingram shoving James Harden after being called for a foul, then appearing to turn his frustration and anger toward an official. However, the veteran point guards exchanged words and punches as Lance Stephenson walked Ingram away.
Ingram rushed back into the melee and threw a punch that connected on Paul before the situation could be controlled. Ingram’s almost assuredly due to receive the lengthiest suspension of the three.
But as of Sunday morning, the focus of the fight is centered around Rondo allegedly spitting in Paul’s face. With punishment from the league coming, the NBA reportedly may take into account Rondo’s prior history when making a ruling, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk:
The league office could take Rondo’s previous suspension for directing an anti-gay slur toward referee Bill Kennedy in 2015 into consideration when determining his punishment, multiple sources told ESPN.
Initial camera angles of the fight made it difficult to discern if Rondo did indeed spit. Paul is seen wiping his face before putting his finger in Rondo’s eye, which was immediately followed by punches thrown.
However, multiple reports indicate there is a new angle the NBA is reviewing, which is said to show spit or saliva coming out of Rondo’s mouth. He reportedly denied Paul’s accusation immediately after the game, and the Lakers organization at the time was also standing by Rondo upon reviewing video that was available.
Rondo was suspended one game for the aforementioned incident with Bill Kennedy.