LOS ANGELES, California -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo on Tuesday continued to deny that he intentionally spit at Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul during Saturday's brawl that resulted in suspensions for three players.
Rondo again pointed to the fact that he was wearing a mouthguard, which would impact his ability to intentionally spit on someone, and said the league catered to Paul's "good guy" image when deciding the length of the bans.
"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 (expletive) out of here.'
"Look at my body language. My hands on my hips. I turn away for a second. Look at Eric and Melo in the video. If they saw me spit, they would have turned their face up or something. They had no reaction."
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey appeared to weigh in with a rejoinder to Rondo's latest denial when he tweeted:
Paul, meanwhile, on Tuesday said he took pride in "staying as poised as possible" during the incident, which resulted in Rondo receiving a three-game suspension for throwing punches and spitting at Paul.
Paul drew a two-game suspension for poking at Rondo's face and throwing punches at him.
"That's tough," Paul said of being suspended. "Somebody spit on you, you know. Play this long and that has never happened, but it is what it is."
The Lakers' Brandon Ingram, who started the confrontation when he shoved James Harden and began arguing with referee Jason Phillips, was suspended four games.
In making its decisions, the NBA evaluated a video shot courtside that appeared to capture Rondo spitting into the face of Paul at Staples Center, league sources told ESPN on Sunday. The Rockets' video staff took the footage courtside during the game, and it was shared with the league office, sources said.
"Of course, the NBA went with his 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 L.A.; 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 that."
When asked Sunday if Rondo spit on Paul, Lakers coach Luke Walton said, "No."
"Y'all are playing me with these tricks or these mind games, tampering with the evidence," Rondo told ESPN on Tuesday. "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 that I just spit on you, then all bets are off. Two, look at my body language. If I spit on you on purpose, I'm going to be ready for a man to swing on me. You ain't going to have my hands on my hip and my head look away at someone if I spit on them. After the (expletive) 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 can 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."
After the incident, Rondo said he was provoked into throwing a punch after Paul poked a finger into his face and left a scratch under his right eye, league sources said.
"It's bigger than basketball now, for you all, for the league, that side over there trying to spin this like ... this whole spitgate," Rondo told ESPN on Tuesday. "Trying to blame me without being accountable for anything he did to provoke the situation."
Paul began serving his suspension Sunday night, missing the Rockets' loss to the LA Clippers. He also will miss Wednesday's game against Utah before returning Friday versus the Clippers.
Rondo and Ingram began serving their suspensions during Monday's overtime loss to the Spurs.The Lakers then play at Phoenix, home against Denver and at San Antonio.
Rajon Rondo: 'Everyone wants to believe Chris Paul is a good guy'
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