Toward the end of a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns Tuesday night, Lakers guard Patrick Beverley was ejected for shoving Suns center Deandre Ayton to the floor for standing over teammate Austin Reaves. Beverley stood by his actions after the game, claiming that Ayton had fouled Reaves hard and was taunting afterwards.


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“Got a person on the ground, two people looking over mean-mugging and puffing their chest out and referees don’t get into it to kind of separate it, control the game, so I’m going to stand up for my teammate,” Beverley said after the game.

In a game the Lakers would go on to lose 115-105, Beverley’s shove to protect his teammate had a minimal impact on the result, as Suns stars Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges led their team in scoring with 25 points. Despite a 37-point showing for Lakers forward Anthony Davis, Los Angeles struggled to produce around him, eventually losing momentum early in the second half and never recovering.

Beverley was the center of attention in post-game interviews on both sides. Booker was similarly quick to defend Ayton while calling out Beverley for cowardice.

“Pat need to stop pushing people in the back man. Push them in the chest,” Booker said.

The Lakers have struggled thus far in a make-or-break season for the team, going 5-11 with the services of Davis, LeBron James, Beverley and Russell Westbrook. Beverley never cited ongoing frustrations for his altercation Tuesday night, however, and went on to stress his care for his teammates.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate that it happened on national TV,” Beverley said. “But you know me. Regardless of what’s going on, I’m a big fan of protecting my teammates. … I’m a foxhole guy. I put on the jersey, and I commit to a team, I commit to a city, and it’s kind of my motto. I’m a foxhole guy.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, it does not appear that Beverley will have to face further disciplinary action for the incident. The Lakers’ next game is on the road against the Spurs on Friday.

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