The first regular season game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets ended up with a brawl involving Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram, and Chris Paul. All players received fines and suspensions for their actions. Rondo got slapped with a three-game suspension and $186,207 fine, Ingram needs to pay $158,816 and sit for four games, while Paul will be sidelined for two games and will be paying a total of $491,782.
Losing two of their starters is definitely something that the Lakers want to avoid, especially now that they haven’t won a single game in the 2018-19 NBA season and are on a two-game losing streak. In the absence of Rondo and Ingram, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton is reportedly planning to use Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma as his temporary starters, according to ESPN.
“Next man up, let’s go,” Walton said.
“We’re going to need guys that haven’t been playing to step in, be ready and confident and I believe they will be.”
Since returning from an injury, Coach Luke Walton revealed that Ball is no longer on a minutes restriction. If Ball manages to impress while Rajon Rondo is serving his suspension, it will not be a surprise if Walton makes him the Lakers’ starting point guard throughout the season. The same thing goes for Kuzma. Walton is very confident that Kuzma can temporarily fill the hole left by Ingram on both ends of the floor.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 22, 2018
The commotion reportedly started when Brandon Ingram shoved James Harden and confronted referee Jason Phillips. Lance Stephenson tried to calm Ingram down, but Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul threw punches against each other after the Lakers point guard reportedly spit on “CP3’s” face. Ingram immediately came to the rescue and threw a punch, which the league deemed “extremely aggressive.”
Ingram already apologized for his action, but he made it clear that he will not hesitate to do the same thing whenever his teammates are in trouble.
“It’s my full responsibility,” Ingram said.
“I think I’m the one that caused action and I’m going to take full responsibility for every action that I did. A hundred percent that I was wrong for my teammates, but I also stepped up for my teammates and that is what I’m going to do 10 times out of 10.”
Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo decided not to give any statement regarding the NBA’s conclusion on the Lakers-Rockets scuffle. Both Ingram and Rondo will start their suspension on Monday night when the Lakers face the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.