Fight Breaks Out In Lakers vs Rockets Game

Jesus Aguayo-Cerda, Writer

It’s rare to see NBA players actually throw punches, but it happened in the first home game of Los Angeles Lakers against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 22. With about four minutes left in the fourth quarter of the game, a frustrated Brandon Ingram of the Lakers shoved James Harden of the Rockets in the back after being called for a foul in transition. Tempers flared on both sides, and Rajon Rondo of the Lakers and Chris Paul of the Rockets got tangled up in a fight. Paul put his finger in Rondo’s face, Rondo swung, Paul retaliated by throwing a punch, and the fight was back on.


Speaking on if either player was justified in fighting is Daniel Hernandez, 12,  a member of Downey Highs varsity basketball team.


“I wouldn’t really say either of them is justified, but I think they had their reasons to fight,” Hernandez stated. “They both pissed each other off to the point where they just started swinging.”


Paul claimed that Rondo spit on him before he ever laid a finger on him, and slow-motion camera angles confirmed his suspicion. Whether the action was done on purpose is unknown due to the fact that Rondo was wearing a mouthguard and that may have caused him to accidentally spit when shouting at Paul.


Sharing his thoughts on who initiated the fight is Tramaine Willis, 12, another player on Downey’s varsity basketball team.


“They both kinda started the fight, but Rondo spit on Paul’s face and even if it was on accident that’s still spitting on someone’s face,” Willis stated. “Once you spit on someone’s face there’s no going back”


While the players who were involved in the brawl have been dealing with criticism, so have the referees of the game. Players, analysts, and commentators have spoken out against the referees by saying that they could have easily diffused the situation before it escalated, yet for some reason elected not to.


During the shouting, yelling, and poking between Rondo and Paul the referees could be seen watching with their whistles ready to blow. Teammates of the players actually attempted to separate the pair before it got violent, but were unable to do so. The referees did not attempt to disperse the two hostile players until they had already began swinging at each other.


Varsity player on Downey Highs women basketball team Alyssa Nevarez,12,  states her opinion on how much fault falls on the referees.


“The refs weren’t solely at fault for the fight, but they didn’t really do much to stop it,” Nevarez stated. “From watching the video it seems that the refs just sort of watched it all go down and didn’t really help out till it was to late. They maybe could’ve stopped the fight from happening”


While it is unclear who started the fight and who is truly at fault, the NBA acted quickly in dishing out punishments. Rondo was suspended for three games and fined $186,207 while Paul was only suspended two games, but fined a much greater amount of $491,782.