There was no love lost between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night. Things got out of control late in the game, and in turn, led to the NBA being forced to make some big decisions. The wild scene began when Rockets guard Chris Paul and Lakers guard Rajon Rondo threw punches at each other, which apparently stemmed from Rondo spitting in Paul’s face, according to the Rockets star.
From there, the typically even-keeled Brandon Ingram shoved and threw a punch at James Harden, playing in a role in escalating things even more than originally. The situation got so far out of hand that ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk reported Rondo’s family got into a confrontation with Paul’s wife, Jada, after the on-court incident while in the stands.
Not surprisingly, the league opted to hand down a suspension to each of the three players involved in the fight. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed, Ingram has been suspended four games, Rondo for three games and Paul received a two-game ban.
The Lakers next play Monday at home against the San Antonio Spurs and will roll out a new-look group to start the game due to these suspensions. Let’s take a look at what the projected starting lineup for Los Angeles could look like.
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup With Rondo, Ingram Suspended
C: JaVale McGee
PF: Kyle Kuzma
SF: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PG: Lonzo Ball
I’m guessing Lakers coach Luke Walton would prefer to keep Kuzma with the second unit as the primary scorer, but since it won’t be for long, this just makes sense. With Kuzma and Ball likely jumping into the starting five, it should mean a big role once again for Josh Hart off the bench and additional minutes for Lance Stephenson.
The Lakers confirmed Monday that both Ball and Kuzma will enter the starting lineup.
Michael Beasley, who’s only played two minutes this season, should also find his way into the rotation until Ingram returns. To this point, the Lakers have gone with a nine-player rotation, and they’re fortunate to have enough depth to cover the suspensions.