One of the only things to have actually gone the way of the Houston Rockets during their Saturday elimination game against the Los Angeles Lakers was that they were able to get a family member from the Lakers side of the bubble crowd ejected. Rajon Rondo’s brother was asked to leave after saying something to Russell Westbrook that caused the and the Rockets guard to get into a heated exchange.
This happened with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter while LeBron James was at the free throw line, and the Lakers held a 23-point lead. After James took his first free throw, Westbrook starts walking the towards the area where Lakers family members are watching this game live, and jawing at Rondo’s brother Willam — though it wasn’t clear who Westbrook was mad at initially. An official steps in front of the Houston player to prevent any sort of real confrontation, and then security stepped in to ask the brother of the Lakers guard to leave.
As Ben Golliver of the Washington Post noted in a tweet including a courtside video of the incident, there is an NBA policy regarding the conduct of fans (read as: family members) watching games in the bubble. Even though William Rondo — who is in charge of the barbers, hairdressers and manicurists of the bubble, according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears — had left the arena, Westbrook was still a bit incensed over the incident following a timeout.
After the game, each side recounted what happened from their perspective. Spears had Rajon’s side of the incident, which seems to paint Westbrook as getting a bit sensitive over some typical fan banter.
Westbrook, meanwhile, didn’t get into specifics but said the Rondo in the crowd was “talking crazy” and made it seem like he went to far with what was said.
This is not the first time that Westbrook has had incidents with fans during games. His most notable exchange happened during a playoff series against Utah in 2019 when he got into it with a Jazz fan who was eventually banned from Jazz games, and the then-Thunder guard was fined $25,000 for his part in the heated exchange.