Once the fists started flying late in the fourth quarter, LeBron James’ home debut with the Los Angeles Lakers was relegated to the undercard.
A sprawling fight that included the normally mild-mannered Chris Paul and Brandon Ingram stole part of the spotlight on LeBron’s official landing on the West Coast. The Houston Rockets stole the rest with a gritty victory.
James scored 24 points, but Paul, Ingram and Rajon Rondo all were ejected after trading blows late in the Rockets’ 124-115 win on Saturday night. ESPN reports that Paul (two games), Rondo (three games) and Ingram (four games) have all received suspensions over the incident.
Before the late drama, James got several big ovations from a tremendously lively sellout crowd in his first home game since joining the Lakers as a free agent. “The atmosphere was great,” James said. “The fans were extremely excited. We gave them everything that we could. Wish we could have gave them more with this win, but it was very electric.”
But perhaps that energy and a flagrant foul by Houston’s James Ennis III against Josh Hart earlier in the fourth quarter contributed to the shocking fight that broke out just before the end of the game.