After Saturday night’s bizarre, saliva-induced brawl between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets, ESPN is reporting the NBA is looking into the incident, closely examining video and interviewing witnesses.
The saliva portion of the brawl involved Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo and Rockets point guard Chris Paul. The two were face-to-face after a scrum had formed over a previous technical foul, and Paul says Rondo spit in his face during the exchange. Paul then put his finger in Rondo’s face, and Rondo responded by throwing a punch, and Paul punched back. Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, who had caused the technical foul that started the original scrum, saw what was happening and flew in from across the court and started punching, and then there was a real brawl. Rondo, Paul, and Ingram were all ejected.
After the game, Rondo insisted he didn’t spit at Paul. Paul obviously disagreed and said he was, in fact, spit on by Rondo. The Rockets took video of the game from the sidelines, and got a great view of Rondo and Paul during the incident.
This is one of the pieces of video the Rockets are sending the league office as the NBA investigates last night's fight at Staples Center and determines discipline. pic.twitter.com/YKw7JF13cP
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 21, 2018
Before the extreme close-up, you can see Paul wipe his face as Rondo turned his head, and that’s when Paul shoved his finger in Rondo’s face and the punching started. As the video is enlarged, you can see actual spit leave Rondo’s mouth, which makes Rondo’s assertion he didn’t spit look pretty dumb.
According to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, the Rockets have sent that clip, which is part of a slightly longer video, to the league office. Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA vice president of basketball operations, was at Saturday’s game and saw the incident live, and is reportedly helping with the investigation. ESPN also reported the NBA is planning to issue penalties before the Rockets play the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
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