Lakers’ Patrick Beverley ejected for shoving Suns’ Deandre Ayton

PHOENIX — Lakers guard Patrick Beverley was ejected for shoving Suns center Deandre Ayton down in a 115-105 loss of Los Angeles on Tuesday, but the longtime veteran said his actions were prompted by the way in which the Phoenix players were dealing with Los Angeles swingman Austin Reaves.

“I’ve got one person down, two people watching petty hold-ups and puffing their chests and the referees don’t come in to separate him, control the play, so I’m going to defend my teammate,” Beverly said.

With 3:55 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Suns up 106-96, Devin Booker was called for a foul on Reaves, making contact with the sophomore then standing over and glaring at him as Reaves was down. Then Ayton stood over Reaves, at which point Beverley took several steps and his body controlled Ayton with his left shoulder when the big Suns guy wasn’t looking.

“I don’t go for that shit,” Beverley said. “Obviously, it’s a shame it happened on national TV. But you know me: no matter what’s going on, I’m a big fan of protecting my teammates. … I’m a trench guy. I wear the shirt, and I commit to a team, I commit to a city, and that’s kind of my motto, I’m a trench guy.

“Very unfortunate situation, though.”

After a video review, Booker was flagrantly fouled 1 for his hit on Reaves, Beverley was awarded a technical foul and ejected, and Ayton was also T’d up.

“I really didn’t see much after I got hit in the nose,” Reaves said. “I thought I was bleeding, so I was down. And when I turned around, I saw Pat’s back to me, which I love. Everyone on the team…it’s the same way. If it was him, we would have done the same thing for he”.

Reaves said he’s already told Beverley he liked it “four or five times” from the end of the game until the time Reaves spoke to reporters.

“He’s a team player,” Reaves said. “He rocks with whoever rocks. Whoever’s on his team, you respect him. You love him. You’re glad he’s on your team. When he’s not, he’s a parasite, he does all those things, all those little things. But I respect that just for what it is and defends me”.

The Suns didn’t share the same appreciation.

“I just think the league needs to look at these kinds of plays; they’re just useless,” said Phoenix coach Monty Williams. “It’s getting silly. That’s the only word I can find.”

Ayton said he made sure to stay calm after the crash.

“He didn’t hurt me, he didn’t take anything from my pocket and I didn’t fight back,” she said.

Booker hinted that it wasn’t the first time he had seen Beverley use a low blow in a match.

“Pat needs to stop pushing people in the back,” Booker said during his on-court interview after the game as part of the TNT broadcast. “Push them into your chest. That’s all I have to say.”

When informed of Booker’s comments, Beverley said, “I’m not going back and forth with any of this.”

The altercation drew attention to an otherworldly effort by Anthony Davis to try to keep LA’s three-game hitting streak intact as LeBron James (groin) sat down for a fifth straight outing. Davis finished with 37 points on 11-of-17 shooting and 15-of-16 from the free throw line, 21 rebounds, five steals and five blocks to become the first player in league history to post at least 35 points, 20 rebounds, five balls steals and five blocks in a game.

Davis also tackled Ayton after Beverley shoved Phoenix center.

“We will never let anyone get the better of our teammate or make him feel like he’s not a man,” Davis said. “This is disrespectful.”

Lakers coach Darvin Ham suggested the league could impose further discipline against Beverley, but Ham agreed with Beverley’s spirit of action.

“Pat Bev, you don’t just want to be a tough man in competition; you actually want to play tough basketball. But at the end of the day, I’m not mad at him,” Ham said. “He’s there to protect his teammate, and I’m sure he’ll probably suffer some kind of consequence for that.

“But ultimately, this is what we have to be as Lakers: We have to stick together.”

When asked if he was concerned about retribution from the NBA, Beverley said “sure” but added that he would accept any fallout from the altercation.

“Very unprofessional on my own. I certainly could have reacted differently,” he said. “So, yeah, I’m a big guy. I’ll take my lumps however they come.”

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