Basketball / NBA

NBA suspends and fines Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul in Lakers-Rockets dustup

AP

Lakers teammates Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul of the Rockets were suspended without pay Sunday for an on-court fight, with Paul taking the heaviest financial hit.

Ingram was suspended four games, Rondo will sit out three games and Paul two games. The NBA handed down the punishments a day after the incident in the fourth quarter at Staples Center.

The penalty was costliest to Paul, who was fined a total of $491,782. Paul is president of the NBA Players’ Association. He began serving his suspension Sunday night and wasn’t at the arena when the Rockets played the Clippers. Rondo will be docked a total of $186,207, while Ingram’s total is $158,816.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni disagreed with the severity of Paul’s penalty.

“It’s just not equitable,” he said. “If you wanted to suspend him one (game) I get it, just to make a statement. Then you’re talking monetarily, he’s paying three times more than the other guys are paying for missing games? That doesn’t seem to be right.”

Ingram and Rondo will start their suspensions Monday night when the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs.

The league said Ingram was suspended for aggressively escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul, confronting referee Jason Phillips in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden.

Eric Gordon, who started in place of Paul against the Clippers, defending his teammate, saying, “If somebody is attacking you, you got to somewhat protect yourself.”

Rondo has been suspended for instigating a physical altercation with Paul, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at the Rockets star. Paul was suspended for poking at and making contact Rondo’s face and throwing multiple punches at him.

“What is he supposed to do? Just stand there and get spit on and then take a punch in the face and say, ‘Well, that’s OK,’ ” said D’Antoni, who called Rondo’s spitting “pretty disgusting.”

“In the heat of the moment when somebody does that, that’s tough, that’s really tough,” D’Antoni said.

The Rockets led 109-108 with 4:13 remaining when Ingram fouled Harden and then shoved him and confronted Phillips after getting a technical foul.

Ingram, Paul and Rondo were all ejected. Houston won 124-115, spoiling the Lakers’ home debut for LeBron James.

Harden didn’t speak to reporters before Sunday night’s game.

“We don’t want this to happen again,” said NBA executive vice president Kiki VanDeWeghe, who handed down the penalties. “(We are) sending a clear message that this is not acceptable behavior and you cannot do this. So in this particular instance, the multiple-game suspensions are pretty severe both to their teams and financially to the players.”