Anthony Davis was beside Deandre Ayton when Patrick Beverley came out of nowhere to level the Phoenix Suns’ starting center. AD later defended Beverley’s action, emphasizing that the feisty point guard was just standing up for Austin Reaves.
Here’s what Davis had to say about the fracas that happened late in the fourth quarter of the game between the Suns and the Lakers:
(Starts at the 2:19 mark)
“He started talking towards the end of the game, Ayton. He was talking to Pat [Beverley] then somehow it got directed towards me so we went back and forth and then they actually hit Austin [Reaves] in the face. All my focus was just on him [Ayton], we went back and forth and then Pat. I feel like he’s standing over him, over Austin.
“He [Beverley] did what he should do, just having his teammate’s back. We never gonna let anyone stand over our teammate. You know, make them feel like they’re not a man. That’s disrespectful in a sense.”
Before Patrick Beverley bodychecked Deandre Ayton after staring down Austin Reaves, Anthony Davis, Beverley and Ayton were already chirping. AD dominated Ayton on both ends of the floor, which visibly frustrated and irked the Suns’ big man.
With 3:55 minutes left in the game, Reaves drove the baseline for a layup that was smothered by Devin Booker. Replays showed that Booker’s hand caught Reaves in the face, which sent the Lakers’ shooting guard crumpled on the floor.
Since there was initially no call, Booker stared down Reaves before Ayton, who grabbed the miss, did the same thing. Had the referees been quick enough to stop the staredown, it would not have escalated.
With Ayton looking down at Reaves, Patrick Beverley pushed him from behind, causing the former No.1 pick to fall over. Anthony Davis, who was just as stunned as Ayton, joined the fray before cooler heads intervened.
There’s no love lost between the LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns since the 2021 playoffs. Anthony Davis has mentioned several times over the past few years that had he and LeBron James been healthy, the Suns would have been eliminated.
Davis noted after the game that they were just trying to win the game and that the dustup had nothing to do with the past. Devin Booker wasn’t so diplomatic in a postgame interview about their past battles and smirked when asked about both teams’ history.
The Phoenix Suns had no answer for Anthony Davis
The LA Lakers didn’t have LeBron James and unsurprisingly ran everything through Anthony Davis. As he has done over the previous four games, AD was more than up to the task.
Davis lit up the Suns with a monster double-double, finishing the night with 37 points and 21 rebounds. He added five blocks, five steals and two assists to his total.
AD was injured in the 2021 playoffs and reminded Phoenix what he could have done had he been fully healthy. Deandre Ayton, who had the unenviable job of containing Davis, could only shake his head a few times in utter helplessness.
The Phoenix Suns and the LA Lakers will meet three more times this season. These games will be long-awaited and much-anticipated head-to-head battles.