There’s been some bad blood between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns since the two teams matched up in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
The Suns came from behind in that series to knock the Lakers out in six games. A back-and-forth between Anthony Davis and Devin Booker followed, centered on a potential outcome of the game if the Purple and Gold had entered the series fully fit.
Similarly, the atmosphere got intense in Tuesday’s clash between L.A. and Phoenix. Patrick Beverly got thrown out for shoving Deandre Ayton in the back after the Suns center stared down Austin Reaves when he fell to the ground hurt. But Davis thinks Beverley only wanted to protect his teammate and commended the veteran guard for standing up to Ayton, per Spectrum SportsNet:
“We got each other’s back. Pat is known for that, having his teammate’s back. He started talking towards the end of the game, [Deandre] Ayton, and was talking to Pat and somehow that directed towards me, back and forth. And I think they say [Devin Booker] actually hit Austin in the face. My focus was just on him, we went back and forth. And then Pat felt like he was standing over Austin and he did what he should do, it’s just having his teammate’s back. No, we never gonna let anyone stand over our teammate, make them feel like not a man. That’s disrespectful in a sense. So just having each other’s back now. I think that’s all there was.”
Davis said he remembers the heated first-round series with the Suns from two years ago. But, the 29-year-old forward added, he approached the game focused solely on getting another win for L.A.:
“I think me and Bron are probably only ones here from that team. You know, they put us out in the first round. So obviously me and Bron have some, you know, something there. Their team is a little different, but we just want to come in and win basketball games. We wasn’t coming in thinking — I mean, at least I wasn’t coming in thinking, you know, ‘This is the team that put us out, we need to get this win.’ I mean, we need to get the win you know for ourselves, you know, for the Lakers. But there wasn’t any no reminiscing on the past, anything like that.”
Beverley acknowledged his reaction was impulsive in the incident with Ayton, adding he wanted to protect Reaves. Lakers head coach Darvin Ham then came to the 34-year-old guard’s defense, praising him for having his teammate’s back.
Davis points to outside shooting as reason behind loss to Phoenix
Davis thought the Lakers played well against the Suns even though they failed to extend their winning streak to four.
The forward said the ball just didn’t want to fall for the Lakers throughout the night, costing them the game.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight from 3,” Davis said. “Usually, the past couple games, last couple weeks, we’ve been shooting the ball very well. Shots didn’t fall tonight but I think we were pretty good overall. We had some good looks that didn’t drop.”
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