Things got chippy between the Lakers and Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday.
With 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Suns up 106-96, Lakers guard Patrick Beverley was ejected after he shoved Suns center Deandre Ayton from behind.
The scene unfolded after Phoenix guard Devin Booker was called for a shooting foul on Lakers guard Austin Reaves, and then stood over him while he was on the floor. Ayton also stood over Reaves, which Beverley said prompted him to approach the situation and “protect” his teammate.
Lakers big man, Anthony Davis — who finished with 37 points and 21 rebounds in an eventual 115-105 loss — also confronted Ayton after the scene unfolded, but was not assessed a technical.
After the referees reviewed the situation, Booker was assessed a flagrant foul 1 for his contact with Reaves and Beverley was T’d up in addition to his ejection. Ayton also received a technical.
Beverley called it a “very unfortunate situation” to occur on national television.
“Got a person on the ground, two people looking over mean-mugging and puffing their chest out and referees don’t get into it to kind of separate it, control the game, so I’m going to stand up for my teammate,” he said.
“I’m not going for that s–t. Obviously, it’s unfortunate that it happened on national TV. But you know me: Regardless of what’s going on, I’m a big fan of protecting my teammates… I’m a foxhole guy. I put on the jersey, and I commit to a team, I commit to a city, and it’s kind of my motto. I’m a foxhole guy.”
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Reaves, who said he got hit in the nose on the play, called Beverley “a team player.”
“He rocks with who he rocks with,” he said. “Whoever is on his team, you respect him. You love him. You’re glad he’s on your team. When he’s not, he’s a pest, does all that stuff, all those little things. But I just respect him for who he is and standing up for me.”
After the game, Suns guard Devin Booker said, “Pat needs to stop pushing people in the back, man. Push them in the chest. That’s all I got to say.”
When asked about Booker’s comments, Beverley said, “Obviously, you know, I’m not going back and forth with all of that so.”