It’s only week two of the 2018-2019 NBA season and the league is already too lit! Week one was filled with drama, with the most action coming out of LA. The atmosphere of Saturday night’s game between the Rockets and the Lakers had the feel of a Western Conference Finals.
The Staples Center was rocking as LeBron was finally making his new home debut. James Harden, Chris Paul, and the rest of the Rockets were only looking to crash the party. Behind Harden’s 36 pts and CP3’s 28 pts, the Rockets would defeat the Lake Show 124-115.
James Harden was having his way against the Lakers the entire evening. With Ingram guarding Harden for the majority of the night, frustration started to set in for the third year player.
With 4:13 left in the 4th quarter, tempers started to flare. When Ingram was charged with a foul after Harden’s lay-up attempt, Ingram gave Harden and emphatic push. Ingram followed up the push by getting in Harden’s face and letting Harden know he can get the hands.
Slim why ingram push harden after Harden dropped him off for the And1 😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/8GJ4rQfrj9
— Reg 1/2x (@ReggieRegSW) October 21, 2018
While both Lakers and Rockets teammates were trying to separate Ingram and Harden, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo found themselves face to face.
While exchanging words, Rondo went full Daffy Duck and got saliva on Paul’s face.
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) October 21, 2018
Feeling the disrespect, CP3 mushed Rondo’s face with his fist while mouthing to Rondo “Don’t you ever spit on me.”
Ready for the smoke, Rondo quickly countered with a left jab catching CP3 in his right eye.
You can also definitely see Paul tell Rondo "don't you ever spit on me" right before Rondo's left jab connects to Paul's right eye. pic.twitter.com/GfsSW7MmmO
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) October 21, 2018
It was pandemonium from then on. Brandon Ingram even came back for more as he was caught throwing a punch.
On Sunday, the NBA wrapped up its investigation. The NBA ruled that Rondo did indeed spit on CP3’s face. As result, Rondo will serve three-game suspension while Chris Paul received a two-game suspension. Brandon Ingram will serve a four-game suspension as he was seen as the instigator.
Nevertheless, after being viewed as a soft, watered down league, it’s refreshing to see the aggressiveness returning to the NBA. Like Famouslos32 said, “this posed to have been worse.”
Spitting on someone is one of the ultimate signs of disrespect. So the NBA is lucky this didn’t turn into another episode of Malice at The Palace brawl in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers.
The young Lakers’ squad is letting the league know that they are no pushovers.
Maybe King James has this young team feeling invincible. Even Nipsey Hussle looked like he was ready to squabble on the sideline!
Floyd Mayweather and Travis Scott was feeling the adrenaline too!
Last night's Lakers-Rockets scuffle had Travis Scott and Floyd Mayweather fired up 😂 pic.twitter.com/ZJwMMRmAHM
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 21, 2018
The real question is, was Ingram in the right to wild out on Harden like he did? Harden is virtually unguardable and can get to the basket at will. However, his dribble penetration game has always been a topic of debate amongst hoopers.
Jemele Hill said Harden was doing his “antics” that’s why Ingram was upset. Example of Antics by Harden pic.twitter.com/VF9bOWh0Iq
— Captain Kangaroo Pimp (@mccauley318) October 21, 2018
The debate is whether or not Harden commits offensive fouls while driving to basket. Another is if a foul call is even warranted when a defender attempts to contest a Harden layup. Yes, Brandon Ingram was getting cooked by Harden all night. To keep it 100, not a single Laker defender could slow down Harden Saturday night.
It has to be demoralizing trying to guard an offensive player who can get to the free throw line whenever he wants. Will James Harden see less trips to the free throw line after this game? It will be interesting to see.