In the absence of LeBron James, other players have had to step up for the Los Angeles Lakers and aside from Anthony Davis, one of the team’s most important players has been Austin Reaves. It was Reaves who found himself in the starting lineup, forming the backcourt with Patrick Beverley and the second-year guard has thrived with the starters.
Unfortunately for Reaves, he was in the middle of an incident late in the Lakers’ contest against the Phoenix Suns. Reaves was hit in the face by Devin Booker, who then, along with big man Deandre Ayton, stood over Reaves while he was laying on the ground. This didn’t sit well with Beverley, who ran up and shoved Ayton to the ground, starting an altercation between the two teams which had to be separated by the officials.
Beverley was ejected for his actions but Reaves was very thankful for his teammate, praising Beverley for having his back in that moment according to Dan Woike of the L.A. Times:
"If it was him, we would've done the same thing for him," Austin Reaves said. Says he "loves" that Beverley had his back.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 23, 2022
Beverley is the classic example of a player you hate when he’s on the other side but love when he’s on your side. Violence on the court will never be condoned on the court, but Ayton and Booker were out of line in standing over and taunting Reaves the way they did, hence why Ayton also received a technical foul and Booker’s foul was upgraded to a Flagrant 1.
Reaves might be the least menacing-looking player in the NBA which makes him an easy target for things like this, but with Beverley around, disrespect simply will not stand. The Lakers will not be pushed around and Beverley being willing to stick up for any teammates makes him beloved in the locker room.
The Suns and Lakers have had a bit of animosity building for a couple years now and Beverley has his own history with Phoenix as well. The move could cost Beverley a game or two, but it’s something Reaves and the rest of the Lakers will remember.
Patrick Beverley explains why he shoved Suns DeAndre Ayton
The move by Beverley to shove Ayton may be seen as dirty by some, but for the Lakers guard, it was a necessity due to the unnecessary disrespect being shown by Ayton and Booker to Reaves.
Beverley explained his reasoning, noting that he is a ‘foxhole guy’ who will always protect his teammates. When referees failed to do anything about Ayton and Booker staring down Reaves while he was on the ground, Beverley took matters into his own hands.
While he added that it was an unfortunate situation that happened on national TV, Beverley will always come to the aid of his teammates.
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