Suspensions are being served for the incident between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets on Saturday that involved punches being thrown by Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and Brandon Ingram, but the bad blood doesn't look like it will dissipate any time soon.
Ingram was suspended four games, Rondo three and Paul two for their roles in the fight, which put an exclamation point on the Rockets' 124-115 win in one of the marquee games of the early season. Following the altercation, Paul claimed that Rondo instigated things by spitting in his face, which led to video analysis that appeared to, though it was unclear if it was intentional.
Rondo spoke out about the incident on Tuesday, denying that he ever spit on Paul. Rondo addressed the video, saying that he was "exasperated" and about to say something to Paul, and that's why the saliva came out of his mouth. Via ESPN:
"This is the only time I'm going to address this," Rondo told ESPN. "I had a mouthpiece in my mouth and I [was] exasperated because I was about to tell him to 'get the [expletive] out of here.'
"Look at my body language [in the video]. My hands on my hips. I turn away for a second. Look at Eric [Gordon] and Melo [Carmelo Anthony] in the video. If they saw me spit, they would have turned their face up or something. They had no reaction."
Rondo went on to attack Paul as a player and a person, telling ESPN that the league, media and fans have the wrong idea about Paul.
"Of course, the NBA went with his side because I got three games and he got two," Rondo told ESPN. "Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy. They don't know he's a horrible teammate. They don't know how he treats people. Look at what he did last year when he was in L.A.; trying to get to the Clippers' locker room. They don't want to believe he's capable of taunting and igniting an incident.
" ... He comes out and says I spit and the media sides with that."
Rondo went on to explain that if he had really spit on Paul, the Rockets guard would have done much more than point his finger in his face. Rondo also added that he wasn't originally going to speak up on the issue, but that he wants to teach his kids "to speak up for themselves and don't let the world tell their story."
Both the Lakers (0-3) and Rockets (1-2) are off to disappointing starts to the season, but all eyes will definitely be on their next matchup on Dec. 13 in Houston.