(REUTERS) - Los Angeles Lakers guard Brandon Ingram expected a worse penalty than the four-game suspension he received for igniting a brawl against the Houston Rockets.
Ingram, 21, spoke on Monday (Oct 22) for the first time since Saturday's melee, which began with his hard foul and shouting match against Rockets guard James Harden. Lakers guard Rajon Rondo and Rockets guard Chris Paul squared off, with video showing Rondo spitting in Paul's face. Ingram then jumped into the fray with a wild punch.
Ingram and Rondo will serve the first game of their suspensions Monday at home against the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers will remain short-handed for their following contests against the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and a rematch with the Spurs on the road.
Ingram was banned for four games without pay, Rondo three games without pay and Paul two games without pay.
"Well, it was better than we expected," Ingram told reporters in comments published by ESPN. "I'm happy it's only four but I know I got to control my emotions a little better." Rondo stayed tight-lipped when asked about the incident.
"It's best for me not to talk about the situation," Rondo said. "It is what it is. You guys see I have three games. I look forward to getting back and helping my team this weekend." Rondo opted not to address his teammates about the sequence.
"Everyone knows who I am, my team," Rondo said. "And I think they still respect me for what I do and what I bring to this team." Ingram said he did not regret standing up for his teammates.
"It's my full responsibility," Ingram said. "I think I'm the one that caused action and I'm going to take full responsibility for every action that I did. A hundred percent that I was wrong for my teammates, but I also stepped up for my teammates, and that is what I'm going to do 10 times out of 10."