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Rockets’ Carmelo Anthony surprised Chris Paul received only 2-game suspension

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Rockets

Houston Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony was surprised teammate and longtime friend Chris Paul only received a two-game suspension following Saturday’s punch-flinging brawl against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Per Martin Rogers of USA TODAY Sports:

“I’m actually a little shocked at the number of games that they are missing,” said Anthony after Houston took a 115-112 loss to the L.A. Clippers. Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram was banned for four games, given his role as the instigator of the fight, his teammate, Rajon Rondo for three after spitting and swinging at Paul.

“It actually works in our favor to be honest with you,” Anthony continued. “I have seen it go 10-15 games before – I was the culprit of that years ago. But to see CP – I don’t want to be speaking on CP – but to see CP only get two games… I didn’t know what to expect to be honest.

Anthony was memorably suspended for 15 games in 2006 after throwing an actual clean punch at Mardy Collins, but this was only two years after the Malice in the Palace had left an ugly stench in the league after a bench-clearing, stands-invading, all-out brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers.

Melo’s punishment was a clear demonstration of what the NBA wanted to get rid of, and is something it managed to do effectively, as very seldom fights have been seen since.

The Rockets dropped to 1-2 on the season after winning a franchise-best 65 games last season. Paul was forced to miss his first game of 2018-19 against the LA Clippers on Sunday night.

“I talked to (Chris) before the game, checking in on him to check he was good,” Anthony added. “His spirits were up, nobody wants to be suspended. I think we all know how much of a competitor he is and to be here missing this game against the Clippers after coming off a big game last night, I am sure he is disappointed. In life things happen, you got to adjust to it.”

Houston went with a 2016-17 retro lineup with James Harden at point guard and Eric Gordon at shooting guard, but the team clearly needed Paul quarterbacking them against an aggressive Clippers team that went a perfect 26-of-26 from the foul line.