Punches Were Thrown And Players Ejected As LeBron’s Laker Home Debut Descended Into Chaos
LeBrin James home debut for the Los Angeles Lakers was marred by a fracas that involved players from both team.
The court fight involved Chris Paul, Rajon Rondon and Brandon Ingram, who all face suspension, even though the former were ejected from the game.
Ramdon and Paul threw punches while Ingram pushed Harden and also joined the Randon-Paul medley and threw a punch that missed its target.
With scores at 109-108 and 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, play was stopped as players and referees had to get involved to stop the fracas. James had to hold back his friend, Paul while Stephenson restrained. Ingram.
The drama started after Ingram was alleged to have fouled Harden, and exploded when Rondon punched Paul in the face.
Paul and the Rockets claim Rondon spit on Paul’s face, something Rondon and the Lakers are denying.
Carmelo Anthony said it was unacceptable: “You don’t do that to nobody — in sports, on the street. That’s blatant disrespect. You don’t do that. That’s unacceptable. … You don’t even see that in the streets, man. I don’t know what else to say about that.”
Laker’s officials said they have watched the video and found no evidence of Rondon spitting on Paul, and coach Luke Walton believes the catalyst for the fracas was when Rocket’s player, James Ennis “clotheslined” Josh Hart of the Lakers and the referee called a fragrant 1 instead of fragrant 2, even after a review.
“The clothesline three minutes prior, I saw that, and I have zero idea how that’s a flagrant 1,”
“The rule is — he clotheslined our guy, picked him up off his feet and slammed him on his back. It was [deemed] a flagrant 1. That is, to me, if I’m a player or teammate, ‘If that’s only a flagrant 1, then we can play a little more physical.’ I didn’t sense anything too crazy besides our guys were a little irritated that that happened and wasn’t penalized more.”
LeBron, whose home debut was overshadowed by the event wants to move on and believes tomorrow is another chance to get it right.
“Listen, we had our chances tonight, and we will take this opportunity tonight to go over things we could did more, did better, be frustrated at certain things we did, look back on things. But when you wake up tomorrow, it’s a new day,” James said. “It’s a new opportunity and you leave things in the past and get on with the future. Tonight, whenever time guys go to bed, when they wake up tomorrow, they got a fresh mind and they can move on.”
“I just tried to calm things down, that’s all,” James said. “Play basketball.”