Update: Nick Young has been suspended one game due to the punch he threw at Suns G Goran Dragic. As a result, Young will miss the Lakers’ game at the Boston Celtics on Friday.
The Lakers dropped their sixth straight game, falling to the Phoenix Suns 121-114, but the story of the night was the ejection of Nick Young and his comments following the game–calling out his teammates for the lack of the support during the scuffle that led to his ejection.
Here is the video of the altercation:
“What I was mad about is it was one-on-five,” said Young, who has posted nine points on 4-of-8 shooting before his ejection. “If somebody had gotten in the middle, it wouldn’t have escalated that much.”
It is pretty evident in the video that his teammates did nothing to come to his defense as he was immediately surrounded by five Suns’ players.
While rookie Ryan Kelly attempted to help, it was not until assistant coach Dan D’Antoni came and pulled Young away from the situation that things started to calm down.
The Lakers (14-25) chemistry has been praised since training camp, but frustrations seem to be boiling over after losing 12 out of their last 13 games. The locker room seemed divided over the issue as Kendall Marshall disagreed with Young’s comments.
“I understand where Nick is coming from. He did get fouled hard. It wasn’t a basketball play by any means,” said Marshall, who had 10 points on only 4-of-16 shooting and 13 assists. “But at the same time, we have to understand you have to win some and lose some. I don’t know if that was the smartest play at the time.”
That same sentiment was shared by coach Mike D’Antoni.
“You don’t fight in this league,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It wouldn’t help us to lose two or three more guys. I hate that Nick feels that way, but I’m sure at the moment he’s just talking.”
Meanwhile, Pau Gasol, who finished the game with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, backed Young’s comments. It should be noted that Gasol was on the bench at the time and any player not in the game would be suspended if they stepped on the court.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get a guy in between Nick and the three or four guys going at him,” said Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who posted 24 points on 10-of-20 shooting. “That was a first mistake or slow reaction on our part. We should’ve protected Nick there.”
Will this situation carry over past tonight? It’s hard to say. While everyone will have an opinion on this, Young’s teammates on the court could have come and pulled him away which did not happen.
Having a teammate’s back does not mean that you have to throw punches, but it would have been good to see players attempt to help “Swaggy P”, instead new issues have poked their ugly head as the Lakers’ continue to free fall in the standings.
With a more than likely suspension looming for Nick Young and possibly Jordan Hill, who stepped onto the court slightly during the chaos, the Lakers could suit up just seven players Friday versus the Boston Celtics.
For more comments on tonight’s situation, here is Mark Medina’s article on tonight’s game.