The Los Angeles Lakers lost 121-114 to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, but the primary story in the aftermath was Nick Young’s ejection.
During the first half of Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Nick Young was ejected for throwing a punch at Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns.
After the games, Young described his contact as “more of a push.”
“I felt like it was just one on five, so I was trying to get out the way,” Young explained. Then, he said he felt bad about Dragic because that is “his guy.”
The incident blossomed out of nothing. With 7:33 remaining in the first half, Young received the ball at midcourt and beat everyone down to the basket from the right wing. The Suns’ rookie center, Alex Len, put a dirty foul on Young.
Len hit Young in the head with both arms after the Lakers’ shooting guard was already air born. Luckily, Young landed safely enough. However, when he got up, he lost his cool.
“I just reacted, got caught up in the moment,” Young described the play.
The only Lakers player close enough to the play was rookie Ryan Kelly, and he’s arguably top three when it comes to least threatening players in the NBA. Young was immediately pushed backwards and felt cornered. He started pushing until he found his way onto the Lakers’ bench.
“What I’m mad about is just, you know, it was one of five,” Young said. “I felt like if somebody would have got in the middle, it wouldn’t have escalated that much.”
“You mean you want some of your teammates to come to your defense there?” John Ireland, radio voice of the Lakers and post-game television interviewer, asked.
“Yea,” Young said plainly.
When watching the play, it is hard to fault his teammates. Kelly is not the right guy to break up a fight. Chris Kaman and Jodie Meeks were slowly walking back, and could have possibly got involved late, but that never ends well. Kendall Marshall was the last player on the floor, and he was at midcourt when the foul occurred. Marshall has been with the team less than a month, and he’s a second-year point guard--meaning he's not a big guy and he's new to the league.
As much as Young may be upset that his teammates didn’t have his back, the only teammates that could have truthfully got involved were sitting on the bench. If they left the bench area, however, the Lakers may not have five guys available for the games in Boston and Toronto.
Ultimately, Young should not incur a suspension. He will be fined, and that is expected. If nothing else, this incident served to keep everyone’s minds off the fact that the Lakers lost the game.