LOS ANGELES – The difficult start to the season for the Lakers continued during Friday’s evening, when Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard had a heated exchange in the first half of a 115-105 loss to the Suns.
Amid a 27-11 rally by Phoenix to take a 13-point lead at halftime, Howard and Davis were separated by their teammates after they became embroiled in a verbal dispute on the bench.
“When you get your butt kicked, sometimes those conversations get heated,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Those guys love each other. They talked about it. And that will happen from time to time.”
With three minutes and 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter, following a Suns timeout, Davis confronted Howard, who was sitting on the bench, prompting the Lakers backup center to stand up and stand. face to face with Davis.
As Howard approached, Davis grabbed him by the arms and pushed him, causing Howard to lose his balance and fall towards the bench. Malik Monk and Avery Bradley chimed in, Monk holding Howard and Bradley holding Davis. Tensions continued to rise, with Davis singling out Howard, before Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Davis’s personal security guard and others tried to defuse the situation.
“We just had a disagreement about something. We are both very passionate about winning. We did not want to lose this game, so we are just passionate,” Howard said. “We are adults, sometimes these things happen. But we are going to solve this little problem between him and me, and that is my brother,” he said.
Davis, who scored 22 points and 14 rebounds, helping cut the Suns’ 32-point lead to nine at the end of the fourth quarter, also played down the fight.
“It doesn’t matter,” Davis said, explaining that the dispute stemmed from the failed execution in his pick-and-roll coverage. “After the situation happened, we talked about it and left it at that.”
Howard did not play in the second half, a decision by the coach that Vogel said was an opportunity to evaluate a smaller lineup rather than disciplinary action.
“We’re just trying to gain chemistry,” Howard said. “This is our second game, our second real game. And we have to do it well. I know that many people are already criticizing us. It is early. Many people laugh at us and joke, but we are going to achieve this together,” he said.