While Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul were engaged in a fight during Saturday night's game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, their significant others were reportedly having words in the stands.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, "The drama extended beyond the court. A heated Paul told teammates and coaches in the locker room afterward that Rondo’s girlfriend had sparked a verbal confrontation with Chris’ wife in the stands, according to sources."
Reports from Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle and Lauren A. Jones of the Los Angeles Sentinel added more details on the altercation:
Rondo and Paul came to blows during Houston's 125-115 win over the Lakers. Brandon Ingram was called for a foul and received a technical for shoving Harden in the back, ostensibly because Harden was advocating for a call.
Ingram then got in an official's face to argue the decision, and Rondo and Paul began having words. During the exchange, Paul appeared to get hit with a bit of spit from Rondo—the Lakers point guard claimed he didn't spit at Paul—and angrily shoved his finger into Rondo's face and neck area. Rondo responded by shoving Paul and then punching him in the face, and the two men had to be separated.
While teammates intervened to pull the two apart, Ingram rushed back into the fracas and threw a punch toward Paul, though it didn't land. For their actions, Ingram was suspended four games, Rondo three games and Paul two. The NBA released a statement on the punishments (h/t Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN):
"Ingram has been suspended for aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul, confronting a game official in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden. Rondo has been suspended for instigating a physical altercation with, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at, Paul. Paul has been suspended for poking at and making contact with the face of Rondo, and throwing multiple punches at him."
The NBA's vice president of basketball operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe, told Wojnarowski that Rondo received one more game in his punishment than Paul for throwing the first punch. Given that the altercation appeared to extend into the stands, however, it seems unlikely that the bad blood between Paul and Rondo will dissipate anytime soon.