The Los Angeles Lakers are off to an extremely rocky start, losing both of their first two games against the Warriors and Suns. Last night was especially bad for the team, as they were losing by as much as 32 points in the third quarter, mounting a comeback when the Suns stopped trying in the fourth only to lose 115-105. The things happening on the court weren’t the only things disgusting enough to make a Laker fan want to hurl; Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis got into a little bit of a shoving match late in the second quarter that had to be broken up by nearly the entire team.
I can’t imagine what Dwight could have done or said to provoke AD. pic.twitter.com/cOTaZ5GuX7
— The Pettiest Laker Fan 🤫 (@ThePettiestLA) October 23, 2021
Dwight Howard spoke about the moment after the game, dismissing the gravity of the situation (h/t Harrison Faigen and Silver Screen & Roll).
“We squashed it right then and there. We just had a disagreement about something that was on the floor,” Howard said. “We’re grown men. Things happen. But we already talked. We squashed it. There is no issue between me and him and that’s my brother. That’s my teammate and that’s what I told him. I said ‘I’m gonna always be here for you no matter what, I’m gonna always fight for you, and I’m gonna always do whatever I can to help this team win.’ And he said the same thing.
“So we’re good, we squashed it. There’s no need to try to make it a bigger issue or something else.”
You can see Anthony Davis’ comments on it in the following video from Spectrum SportsNet, but overall, he seemed a little more annoyed with the situation than Howard. Either way, Davis noted that it was “over with,” preaching similar ideas as Howard of the two just getting too heated with the competition at the moment.
If Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard are true to their words and everything really is water under the bridge, that doesn’t change the fact that the Lakers team as a whole became too emotional and distracted from the actual basketball game at hand last night. There were definitely some questionable calls against the Lakers in the first half (Davis, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook all had two fouls before the first quarter ended), but the team let the referees get the best of their emotions far too much starting with Frank Vogel getting a technical foul with eight minutes left in the second quarter.
After that, Howard, LeBron, and others had some grievances with the officials that they were airing out during live plays. The frustrations boiled over with the Howard/Davis scrum that happened during a timeout with 3:13 left in the second. Between Vogel’s technical and the end of the first half, Chris Paul smelled blood in the water and helped the Suns go on a 23-11 run.
Although LeBron is usually a guiding force for the Lakers to keep them on track, he also seemed to have let emotions get the best of him at multiple times last night. Following the chaotic end to the first half, he came out in the second half looking asleep and disinterested as Miles Bridges just ran away from his defense for an easy layup to start. There was also a moment in the second half when the Lakers were really gushing blood leading to that 30+ deficit where LeBron contested a fast-break basket, only to not run back to the offensive end to help his four other teammates try and score the basketball.
The worst of LeBron’s anger presented itself in the following clip, where he was heard talking trash to Cameron Payne, someone that’s far beneath him in terms of basketball status (video is NSFW).
LeBron to Cam Payne: "Stay humble. You was at home a year and a half ago, now you wanna pop off."
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 23, 2021
We’ve heard Frank Vogel and the team preach “patience” as they continue to figure out how all the parts of the roster fit on offense and defense. It’s a fair sentiment to have since only three of their 15 players were on the 2020-21 roster. It’s even fairer when you consider how hard it is to fit Westbrook onto a team that has an established offensive tandem with LeBron and Davis.
However, they have to start winning games at some point. They have another home game on Sunday against the Grizzlies, but after that, they’ll have a road back-to-back against the Spurs and Thunder on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Although those are two teams that everyone believes will be near the bottom of the Western Conference standings, it would be especially lethal to the Lakers to have these types of altercations and referee-objections on the road where the opposing team’s fans can get involved and make life even harder on them.
The Lakers will practice today. In addition to still working out the kinks on their offense and defense, hopefully they will calm themselves down and re-focus so that they can get something going in the win column tomorrow night.