Only Russell Westbrook could find a way to argue with a fan inside a mostly empty arena.
During the fourth quarter of Saturday night's Game 5 between the Lakers and Rockets, the Houston star stepped out of the lane after a LeBron James free throw attempt and began talking to someone in the stands. It turns out that someone was William Rondo, the older brother of Los Angeles guard Rajon Rondo.
Security asked Rajon Rondo’s brother to leave the stands after he exchanged words with Russell Westbrook. pic.twitter.com/5jG1hkInN6— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 13, 2020
Russ yelling at Rajon Rondo's brother pic.twitter.com/TczPvucslS— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) September 13, 2020
Westbrook repeatedly yelled, "Who you talking to?" at William Rondo, according to The Washington Post's Ben Golliver. Security then escorted William out of the arena.
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook repeatedly shouts “Who you talking to?” at Rajon Rondo’s brother who was seated in front row & supporting Lakers during Game 5. Austin Rivers adds, “You’ve got to go” before security escorts him out. NBA has policy restricting bubble fan conduct pic.twitter.com/w9Wb3tCXCd— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 13, 2020
The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears noted William Rondo is not your typical family member visiting the campus just to offer support and watch games. He is the the president of Global Concierge Services and in charge of the barbers, braiders and manicurists inside the NBA "bubble."
It's unclear exactly what William Rondo said in order to provoke Westbrook, but the NBA had warned guests about using profane or abusive language. Rajon Rondo claimed that William called Westbrook "trash" but didn't raise his voice or curse at him.
"People at the game, you're supposed to shut your mouth and watch the game," Westbrook said after Game 5. "That's the rules, especially when you have families and people here. ... Because [Rajon] Rondo was talking s—, he decided he wanted to hop in, too. It's OK. It's all good. I get it. He wanted to take up for his brother. I don't know what, but that's it.
"Those rules stand for everybody, though. Don't matter who it is, family, whatever. When you cross that line, then he's supposed to be at home. There's no rules or regulations for that. He started talking crazy, and I don't play that game."
As for what happened on the court, the Lakers easily dispatched the Rockets, ending the second-round series with a 119-96 win and advancing to the Western Conference finals. Westbrook scored 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting in 36 minutes.