The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in LeBron James’ home debut and everyone is talking about the brawl that is now being deemed spitgate.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets got a bit chippy in LeBron James‘ home opener at the Staples Center. In what was an eventful night for LA Sports fans (with the Los Angeles Dodgers advancing to the World Series), the Lakers and Rockets put on a show on national television.
If you have not see the brawl you must have fallen asleep before it happened and opened this article first thing when you woke up. It has been the biggest talk of the NBA.
Let’s recap. It all started when James Ennis clotheslined Josh Hart with 10 minutes left in the game. That sparked the Lakers, which led to Brandon Ingram shoving James Harden after a play. That is when it really spiraled out of control as Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo threw punches with Ingram running over and throwing a cheap shot of his own.
Regardless of Rondo spitting on Paul, both guards are likely going to receive a suspension. Rondo could get a two-game suspension instead of one, which Paul and Brandon Ingram will most likely get.
Things like this usually blow over and don’t have any long-term implications. This is not The Malice at the Palace and should not be treated as such.
However, this brawl could have negative implications internally for the Los Angeles Lakers. While it won’t affect the Houston Rockets in that way, if anything, this could hurt the dynamic of the Lakers.
Look, as much as the media wants to promote brotherhood within a team, the fact of the matter is that Rajon Rondo spit in the face of Chris Paul and Brandon Ingram came over and threw a sucker punch. Chris Paul is one of LeBron James’ best friends, and as you saw during the incident, it was James holding Paul back and cooling him down.
If the fist fight itself was not so focused on the individuals I would understand there not being some sort of tension. If this was a teamwide scuffle in which Ingram, Rondo and Paul got tangled up, that is one thing.
However, Rondo obviously targeted Paul, spit in his face, which led to Paul responding and Ingram jumping in. This is a team that is young and is still proving whether or not they can hang with LeBron James.
LeBron has as much pull as any player has ever had with the front office. While the young assets have a ton of promise, if LeBron thinks they cannot hang, they become very valuable trade pieces.
This one incident alone is definitely not something to cause us to run to the NBA Trade Machine and try to work out a deal for Ingram. However, the young forward letting his emotions get the best of him and lose his cool is definitely something that will be discussed internally.
Hopefully, it can be a learning moment for Ingram. Let’s hope that LeBron takes him under his wing and constructively responds. It very well could snowball into something the Lakers do not want to see.
Thus, I would advise any fans of the Los Angeles Lakers to take this with more than a grain of salt. This is going to have some sort of effect on the locker room; hopefully, it is not negative.