Spit al­le­ga­tion leaves Ra­jon rag­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Lak­ers guard Ra­jon Rondo re­mains stead­fast that he did not in­ten­tion­ally spit at Hous­ton Rock­ets guard Chris Paul on Satur­day, which led to a brawl and suspensions for both play­ers and Lak­ers for­ward Bran­don In­gram.

“This is the only time I’m go­ing to ad­dress this,” Rondo told ESPN on Tues­day. “I had a mouth­piece in my mouth and I was ex­as­per­ated be­cause I was about to tell him to ‘get the hell out of here.’

“Look at my body lan­guage (in the game). My hands on my hips. I turn away for a sec­ond. Look at Eric and (Carmelo An­thony) in the video. If they saw me spit, they would have turned their face up or some­thing. They had no re­ac­tion.”

The Rock­ets re­port­edly sent video to the league that ap­pears to show Rondo ex­pelling a small bit of spit at Paul, who re­sponded by shov­ing his fin­gers in Rondo’s face be­fore the lat­ter threw a punch and both play­ers started swing­ing.

Paul was sus­pended for two games and Rondo for three, while In­gram — who started the testy ex­change by push­ing James Har­den and ar­gu­ing with a ref­eree — was sus­pended for four games.

“Of course, the NBA went with (Paul’s) 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 LA, 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 him.”

Rondo was re­fer­ring to a game last Jan­uary when Paul, in his first re­turn to Sta­ples Cen­ter since play­ing for the Clip­pers, re­port­edly led team­mates into the hosts’ locker room af­ter the game fol­low­ing testy ex­changes on the court.

Paul called his sus­pen­sion for the in­ci­dent “tough”.

“Some­body spits on you, you know,” he told ESPN. “Play this long and that’s never hap­pened, but it is what it is.”

Rondo re­mained adamant that he didn’t spit.

“Y’all are play­ing me with these tricks or these mind games, tam­per­ing with the ev­i­dence,” Rondo said.

“Ain’t no way that I in­ten­tion­ally spit on you with my body lan­guage the way it was. One, if I spit on you, bot­tom line, there is not go­ing to be no fin­ger-point­ing. If you felt I just spit on you, all bets are off.

“If I spit on you on pur­pose, I’m go­ing to be ready for a man to swing on me. I ain’t go­ing to have my hands on my hip and my head look­ing away if I spit on you.

“Af­ter that goes down, within 30 sec­onds, you run and tell the side­line re­porters that I spit on you? If I spit on you, you are try­ing to get to me. You not try­ing to make up a story so you look like a good guy. It makes no sense to me.

“I was go­ing to let it rest. I wasn’t go­ing to say much. But now I have kids and I teach my kids to speak up for them­selves and don’t let the world tell their story.”

Paul served the first game of his sus­pen­sion on Sun­day night, miss­ing a loss at the Clip­pers, and he’ll also sit out when the Rock­ets play the Jazz on Wednes­day be­fore re­turn­ing for the visit of the Clip­pers on Fri­day.

Rondo and In­gram both sat out Mon­day’s over­time loss to the Spurs and will miss games at Phoenix on Wednes­day and host­ing Den­ver on Thurs­day. Rondo will re­turn for a trip to San An­to­nio on Satur­day, and In­gram re­turns on Mon­day at Min­nesota.

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