The Los Angeles Lakers lost 115-105 to the Phoenix Suns Saturday (Oct. 22) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The team, which has high expectations after signing Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Rajon Rondo among others this offseason, is now 0-2 to start the 2021-2022 season.
Though it’s early, some Lakers fans are beginning to worry about the team’s chemistry. During the second quarter, Anthony Davis followed Dwight Howard to the bench after both teams walked off the court because of a timeout. Howard didn’t acknowledge Davis until he stood over him mouthing off his frustrations. When Howard stood up, Davis grappled with him and yelled at him before their teammates stepped in to break up the scuffle.
The altercation occurred after the Suns outscored the Lakers 34-18 in the second quarter. By halftime, the Suns had accumulated a 13-point lead and their defensive woes seemed to fuel the team’s frustrations.
“When you’re getting your ass kicked, sometimes those conversations get heated,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the game. “Those guys love each other. They talked it out. And that’s going to happen from time to time. I’d rather our guys care than not care.”
Howard finished the game with three rebounds, one assist and two fouls said that he and Davis “squashed it right then and there.” He did not come back into the game in the second half. “We just had a disagreement about something that was on the floor. We’re both very passionate about winning. We didn’t want to lose this game, so we’re just passionate. We got it out the way. We’re grown men. Things happen. But we are going to squash this little issue between me and him, and that’s my brother, that’s my teammate.”
“We’re just trying to get it together,” Howard added. “This is our second game, our second real game. And we got to get it right. I know a lot of people are counting us out already. It’s early. Lot of people laughing at us and joking, but we going to get this thing together.”
Davis put up 22 points and 14 rebounds in the game. He also downplayed the squabble with Howard on the sidelines. “It’s over with,” Davis said, after explaining that he and Howard exchanged words because of how they defended the Suns pick-and-roll plays. “After the situation happened, me and DH, we talked about it and we left it at that.”
But Lakers legend Magic Johnson is evidently concerned. Magic took to Twitter last night (Oct. 22) and tweeted “The Lakers have a team issue and basketball issue.”
“Dwight Howard and AD got into a physical altercation on the bench…in my 42 years of being associated with the Lakers organization, I’ve never seen something like that smh,” Johnson tweeted.
James attempted to explain to reporters that his team is just going through growing pains at the moment. The Lakers added over seven new players to its roster and according to James, who’s no stranger to slow starts, “there is a process along with building something to become the team that you want to become.”
“I know it firsthand. I know the shortcomings that happens throughout when you’re trying to build something special, and that doesn’t happen overnight,” James said. “As much as you want it, you’re going to get frustrated at times because you know what you’re capable of. You know what the team can become capable of. But it just takes time.”
Watch Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard’s scuffle below: