Fists came flying in the final frame of the Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Lakers NBA game, Saturday night, at the Staples Center.
Two players from the home team and one from the red shirts were ejected from the match, following an ugly brawl, which saw Lakers’ Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram and Rockets’ Chris Paul throwing punches late in the fourth quarter.
It was a double whammy for Luke Walton and his squad as they suffered a 124-115 loss in LeBron James’ long-awaited home debut with the Lakers.
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Six days after the National Basketball Association raised its curtain for the 2018-2019 regular season, emotions poured down on Saturday, which led to a fight between players of the two Western Conference teams.
The Rockets tried to arrest their two-game losing skid as they visited the newly-revamped Lakers, with the four-time Most Valuable Player, James, making his highly-anticipated home debut with the purple and gold.
“The atmosphere was great. The fans were extremely excited. We gave them everything that we could. Wish we could have gave them more with this win, but it was very electric,” said the former Cleveland Cavaliers star. (transcript from nba.com)
Playing in front of a mammoth crowd, the Lakers managed to keep it in striking distance as they stayed close with their visitors in the first 24 minutes, 62-66, before outscoring Houston in the third canto to cut the deficit in just a solitary point, 97-98.
#NBA penalized Brandon Ingram with a 4-game suspension, the longest in the league since 2012, with Rajon Rondo serving 3 and Chris Paul 2, for their brawl during #LeBronJames' home debut for the LA Lakers on Saturday. https://t.co/mQ9pH3bE86 pic.twitter.com/5lkThTpOcF
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But the electric vibe turned into tensions as a fight broke out between Rondo, Ingram, and Paul in the last quarter.
Trailing by 108-109, the young Ingram was called for a foul after an attempt to stop a James Harden drive. The usually soft-spoken small forward disliked the call, shoved the Houston star, and was called for a technical foul.
His teammate Lance Stephenson pulled him away from the scene but Ingram, later on, re-entered the fray when Rondo and Paul started trading blows.
The game went into a short lull as officials tried to settle things up, while the energy from the crowd obviously took a nosedive.
LeBron finished with 24 points for the Luke Walton-mentored squad and ended up as a peacemaker in his home debut.
Lakers’ Stephenson claimed that their ‘opponents tried to provoke them but they fell for it’ while Houston’s Carmelo Anthony called the melee “bullsh*t and unacceptable.”
Watch the fight in the video below:
(Featured Image Source: Bleacher Report/YouTube)