NBA season begins with an ugly fight between key players
By: George Burkert
The Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers game on October 20 was Lebron James’ first home game as a member of the Lakers, but will instead be remembered as one of the most intense NBA brawls since 2006.
With 4 minutes and 13 seconds left and the Rockets up by 1 point, the game took a turn for the worse after Lakers forward Brandon Ingram was called for fouling Rockets star James Harden.
Ingram, angry at the call, shoved Harden and confronted the ref. This was only the beginning, as the confrontations got more heated.
The most memorable fight in all of this was between Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo and Rockets point guard Chris Paul.
Rondo was accused of spitting at Paul, who tried confronting the point guard, only to get punched by him.
This put James in an interesting position, who took Paul away from the fight despite not being teammates. James and Paul are close friends and both men are godfathers to the other’s children.
The final score was 124 to 115 with the Rockets winning. Paul, Rondo, and Ingram all got ejected from the game.
Both Rondo and Paul are players who are not afraid to speak their minds and get into it with other players.
Back in January, Paul lead Rockets teammates into the Los Angeles Clippers locker room to confront Clippers players after an altercation during that game.
The NBA is no stranger to brawls breaking out due to hard fouls. Back in 2004 the Malice at the Palace started with Ron Artest fouling Ben Wallace and later involved players going into the stands and fighting fans, changing how the league handles fights.
Ingram was suspended for 4 games for instigating the fight, confronting a ref, and also throwing punches while Rondo got 3 and Paul got 2. Ingram believes he deserved the suspension he got.
Rondo has not been afraid of throwing shade at Paul since the fight, denying the spitting incident and calling Paul a horrible teammate. Rondo believes the media has been favoring Paul by trying to make him a good guy.
Paul has been praised as one of the best point guards in the modern era of basketball and has helped communities. He is also the president of the National Basketball Players Association.
Since Rondo’s comments on Paul, however, some of Paul’s past teammates Glen Davis and Ryan Hollins have agreed with Rondo’s comments, with Hollins also calling Rondo one of his favorite teammates of all time.
According to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports, an executive from the Clippers told him Paul was not a great teammate during his time with the Clippers.
Rondo has also been called out for being an unpleasant teammate in the past, having a beef with former Boston Celtics teammate Ray Allen, which was part of the reason why Allen left the Celtics back in 2012.
Back in 2017 on the Chicago Bulls, Allen went back at former teammates Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade after they criticized the younger players on the team for not wanting to win as much as they did.
Rondo has also been criticized for not getting along with coaches he played for in the past, butting heads with his former Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Back in 2015, Rondo got into arguments with Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlise, eventually quitting on the team in the first round of the 2015 playoffs.
Paul also had problems with Rivers during his time with the Clippers, having issues with the amount of minutes River’s son, Austin Rivers would play. This would continue into last January during the Rockets vs Clippers game where there was an altercation.
Lakers coach Luke Walton has defended Rondo believing he did not spit while Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni has defended Paul.
The suspensions have put the Rockets off to a rocky start for the season having lost those 3 games because of the incident. As for the Lakers, they lost the first game after the incident, but won their next 2, with Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball filling in for Ingram and Rondo.
Both teams are still struggling after the suspensions, with the Rockets losing because of Harden missing games from injury. The Lakers are still adjusting and Ball has replaced Rondo in the starting lineups
The NBA season usually has interesting storylines and the Rockets-Lakers brawl is no exception.
Both teams play each other 3 more times this season and there’s the possibility of facing each other in the playoffs when playoff time comes around.