The short-staffed Los Angeles Lakers held up against the Phoenix Suns for two-thirds of the game in Thursday’s 108-90 loss — until the officials ejected Carmelo Anthony in the second half.
Anthony had just brought L.A. back within five points with a couple of free throws before missing a 24-foot triple with 6:40 left in the third quarter. After he landed on the court, the forward argued Jae Crowder fouled him as he attempted the 3-pointer and that he should go to the charity stripe again.
The 36-year-old veteran shouted and swung his hand in frustration, earning him a second technical foul and ejection. Following the incident, the Suns’ lead ballooned up to 22 points with LeBron James twisting his ankle in the meantime.
The following day, Anthony said he felt like he let the Lakers down with his actions.
“As far as the ejection, it happened,” he said. “I don’t really know what to say to that. I will say I know how important my presence is out there on the court. Was I trying to control it at that point? No, I wasn’t trying to control it at that point, it was hard for me to control it at that point.
“So many things had led up to that point so it wasn’t just about that… But again, no excuses, it happened. I take it on the chin. The only thing is I feel like I let my team down by being ejected, that’s not something that I do, get ejected and put my team in situations like that.”
Anthony added he misses the times when the referees allowed players to have “dialogue” without risking being thrown out of the game.
“Maybe we need that type of fire, somebody to spaz out, somebody hard fouling, we need that type of energy,” he said. “I miss that game. I miss the game where you can hard foul and pick somebody up and say ‘OK, I took the foul.’ Or the dialogue between myself and the refs, some refs allow you to have that dialogue and some not so you got to be cautious of that.
“But to put my team in that situation, that’s the only thing that I will take from that.”
Anthony opens up on uncertainty brought to NBA by COVID-19
Anthony’s ejection happened at an unfortunate time as the Lakers already played without six players, ruled out by injuries and a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The forward acknowledged that many “unknowns” currently loom over L.A. and the entire NBA on a day-to-day basis due to the rapid spread of the virus.
“Whether it’s a superstar or anybody, it’s unpredictable. You don’t know” Anthony said. “What we’re dealing with is bigger than basketball, it’s bigger than that. It’s something that we can’t control. We can try to control it, we can try to do what we do to stay safe and stay healthy and stick to the script as far as wearing your mask and hand sanitizer, taking care of your body.
“But you just can’t predict what’s gonna happen and I think that’s the part that’s I don’t want to say confusing, but that’s the part that is just up in the air, it’s the unknown. When you have an unknown like something like this virus that we’re dealing with, you just never know what’s gonna happen day-to-day.”
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