Rockets deal LeBron, Lakers 2nd loss in fight-marred game
LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James' home-game debut turned quite chaotic.
The Houston Rockets kept LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers winless in two games, 124-115, in a fight-marred NBA match at the Staples Center on Saturday, October 20 (Sunday, October 21, Manila time).
Houston's Chris Paul and Los Angeles' Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram got ejected as they figured in a scuffle with just 4:13 minutes left in the game.
The melee started with Ingram shoving James Harden, which led to several players jawing at each other, including Rondo and Paul.
Paul then poked Rondo in the eye as Rondo answered with a roundhouse punch that would have made boxing champion Floyd Mayweather proud – the fighter was sitting courtside obviously enjoying the fireworks.
Paul threw punches as well and Ingram was given two technicals, one for starting the fiasco by pushing Harden in the back and the other for a sucker punch from behind an unsuspecting Rockets player as he charged back into the kerfuffle for round two.
"I saw it from a distance. It was very heated stuff," said Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni.
Chris Paul, Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo have been ejected after throwing blows in L.A. pic.twitter.com/s28TT81eys— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 21, 2018
Harden powered the Rockets with a game-high 36 points and Paul had a sensational outing of 28 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists before getting thrown out.
James dropped 24 points to pace the Lakers, who absorbed their second straight loss at home after opening the season with a road-game loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, 128-119.
Suspensions will likely be handed.
Saturday's loss left James still searching for his first win as a Laker. In his season-opening game on Thursday in Portland, James scored a game-high 26 points and had 12 rebounds.
James was introduced to the sold out crowd of 19,000 by Lakers announcer Lawrence Tanter, "The other forward is number 23, his 16th campaign, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, LeBron James!"
With the NBA’s Kiki VanDeWeghe on the scene at Staples, investigation into Rockets-Lakers fight is underway tonight and there is potential for suspensions as soon as Sunday, league source tells ESPN. Rockets play Clippers on a back-to-back.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 21, 2018
The Rockets scored the first 7 points before James scored on his first shot attempt, cutting Houston's lead to 5 two minutes into the game. James introduced himself to the Laker fanatics with an 18 foot pull up jumper.
A minute later he tried his first three-pointer from 26 feet but it bounced away.
It was a more reserved start than the one he had on Thursday when he delivered back-to-back, rim-rattling dunks for his first two baskets to open his Lakers' era.
On Saturday, he electrified the Staples Center crowd for the first time with a monster two-handed slam to tie the contest 14-14 halfway through the first quarter. – With a report from Agence France-Presse