The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, and the talk of the NBA ecosystem was all set to be about Anthony Davis accomplishing a stat line that literally no one in NBA history has ever achieved before. At least until Patrick Beverley saw Deandre Ayton standing over Austin Reaves.
Beverley, never one to shy away from shoving a Suns player, responded with a two-handed push, sending Ayton sprawling and both teams scurrying to defend their teammates and jaw at each other.
Beverley was ejected — and actually walked out the tunnel to the locker room before the verdict came down, knowing what was coming. He is a veteran of many such scuffles, after all — while Devin Booker received a Flagrant 1 foul for smacking Reaves in the head to kick the whole thing off, and Ayton got a technical of his own for standing over the undrafted Lakers sophomore when he was on the ground after the contact.
The Suns were not happy about the fracas in Phoenix, with Booker calling Beverley out by name in his nationally televised postgame interview on TNT:
We here at Silver Screen and Roll agree: Players should never shove an unsuspecting player in the back. It sure would be a shame if there was footage of Devin Booker doing exactly th... oh, you’re telling me he did? Less than two years ago? On TNT?
Devin Booker: “Pat Bev need to stop pushing people in the back”— zain fahimullah (@zain_gogh) November 23, 2022
Also Devin Booker: pic.twitter.com/4RO37NsMJh
Nevertheless, it would be fairly shocking if Beverley didn’t get additionally punished with a fine or suspension for this. And frankly, it will be deserved. But regardless of what comes his way, he said after the game he’d always make the same choice:
Patrick Beverley repeatedly called it a “very unfortunate situation” but that he didn’t like Booker and Ayton standing over Reaves and “mean-mugging.” Said he will stand up for his teammates.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 23, 2022
He also declined to address Booker’s remarks, saying “I’m not going back and forth with all of that.”
"I'm a big fan of protecting my teammates." Pat Beverley talks about the scuffle with Deandre Ayton and the Suns. pic.twitter.com/VqCeDshZAg— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 23, 2022
For his part, Reaves made sure to let Beverley know the gesture was appreciated, and that he’d do the same thing if the roles were reversed (which as an aside, is hilarious to picture, because I think if Reaves tried to shove Ayton, Reaves would probably fall down, but I’m sure Pat appreciated the sentiment nonetheless):
"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
Austin Reaves said he’s told Patrick Beverley “four or five times” how much he appreciates him having his back.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 23, 2022
Again, the NBA can’t allow this kind of stuff, and will always punish teams and players when it happens, but part of the fraternity of a cohesive locker room is guys standing up for each other. The Lakers appreciated the reminder that Beverley has their back:
Russell Westbrook on Patrick Beverley’s ejection: “I love it, personally. Protecting and understanding we have each other’s back is the most important thing as a team.”— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 23, 2022
Anthony Davis said he though Ayton standing over Austin Reaves was "disrespectful." Said Beverley showed that he's got his teammates' backs.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 23, 2022
Anthony Davis on the scuffle in the fourth quarter said he thought DeAndre Ayton was standing over Austin Reaves "and we never want anyone standing over our teammate." He adds "we have each other's backs."— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) November 23, 2022
After a reporter asked about the thin line between standing up for a teammate and going over the line, Darvin Ham offered up this summation on the scuffle that broke out in the fourth quarter, asking rhetorically what it would have meant if the Lakers let Austin get pushed: pic.twitter.com/jKG3zR31Qh— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) November 23, 2022
Darvin Ham said that the Beverley-Ayton scuffle was an unfortunate play, but at the end of the day, he is not mad since the Lakers need to have each other's back. pic.twitter.com/t8camVUVtn— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 23, 2022
Anthony Davis talks about feeling numbness in his hand after falling awkwardly and Deandre Ayton's "disrespectful" move that initiated the scuffle against the Suns. pic.twitter.com/Sbha9TyfLo— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 23, 2022
Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for updates on Beverley’s status moving forward, but it’s safe to say that even if he ends up missing a game or two, his teammates will consider him setting the tone worth it.