Following the spewing of saliva, Paul and Rondo took swings at one another, with the former actually landing a haymaker to the latter's jaw.
Meanwhile, back at the Staples Center, the star-studded Houston Rockets spoiled LeBron's big night, and Lakers guard Rajon Rondo instigated a massive brawl by spitting at Houston's Chris Paul, resulting in suspensions for Rondo, Paul, and the Lakers' Brandon Ingram.
In addition to his punch, Ingram has been charged with instigating the incident and confronting referee Jason Phillips for calling a technical foul due to his push on reigning MVP Harden.
Ingram looked childish for shoving James Harden, but his punch came after Rondo got Paul wound up by spitting on him. The Rockets alleged that Rondo had spit on Paul - a claim the Lakers have denied. Paul is president of the NBA Players' Association. "It's not equitable. If you watch the film, you watch the spit, you watch this and that, it's just".
In the ensuing group argument, Paul stuck a finger into the face of Rondo, who responded by punching his fellow point guard. "That doesn't seem to be right". This led to Rondo landing a clean left hook on Paul and more punches being thrown.
"What is he supposed to do?"
The fourth quarter saw punches thrown on both sides.
"In the heat of the moment when somebody does that, that's tough, that's really tough", D'Antoni said.He began serving the suspension Sunday night when the Clippers played the Rockets. "That's unacceptable. You don't even see that in the streets".
"Rajon has his own view of what happened", VanDeWeghe said.
For reference, Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games in 2006 after he clocked a player on the New York Knicks during a fight as a member of the Denver Nuggets. "We're going to need guys that haven't been playing to step in, be ready and confident and I believe they will be". Ingram was initially at the center of the dispute, and was hit with the longest suspension.
Harden also backed his teammate.
Logically, the Lakers were expected to lose their first two games- in Portland, where they seldom win, and at home against one of the league's best teams, Houston.