Lance Stephenson Accuses Rockets Of Attempting To ‘Provoke’ Lakers, Pick On Brandon Ingram
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

An exciting home opener for the Los Angeles Lakers soured by the end of the night and not simply because of their 124-115 loss to the Houston Rockets. Late in the fourth quarter, Brandon Ingram was called for a foul on James Harden and showed frustration by shoving the reigning MVP.

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With teammates trying to calm Ingram down, he then came to Rajon Rondo’s defense who exchanged punches with Chris Paul. Allegations are that Rondo spit in Paul’s face, which prompted him to point in Rondo’s face.

Ingram was initially pushed away from the dust up by Lance Stephenson, who of course has a history of being involved in that type of altercation. “I just tried to break it up. No one was really wanted to fight,” Stephenson said, before lobbing his own accusation.

“I felt like the other team was trying to provoke us. I think they were picking on [Ingram]. That’s why I tried to grab him as quickly as possible and tell him, ‘Hey, don’t fall for the trick,'” Stephenson said. “I guess we fell for it.”

With conflicting reports on whether Rondo spit in Paul’s face, Stephenson believes the latter actually escalated the situation. “I felt like he shouldn’t have put his hand in Rondo’s face,” Stephenson said. “You do that in somebody’s face, you know what’s going to happen.”

Over the past decade or so, the NBA has cleaned up these type of situations. Since players historically don’t want to fight each other, it was shocking to see multiple punches thrown.

For all three players involved, they will likely receive lengthy suspensions, especially Ingram.

As the Lakers have eight new players, losing two rotation players will be costly to their chemistry. In their place, Stephenson and Lonzo Ball will likely play more minutes as they host the San Antonio Spurs in search of their first win.

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