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Lakers’ Patrick Beverley suspended three games for shoving Deandre Ayton

The NBA deemed that Patrick Beverley’s “history of unsportsmanlike acts” played a major role in the Lakers point guard being suspended for three games without pay for “forcefully shoving” Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton from behind and knocking him to the Footprint Center court during a loss Tuesday, the league announced Thursday.

While Beverley will begin serving his suspension Friday night when the Lakers take on the San Antonio Spurs in the first of back-to-back games here, Los Angeles is awaiting the return of LeBron James, who has missed the last five games because of a left adductor strain.

Beverley, who will also miss Saturday night’s game here against the Spurs and Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Crypto.com Arena, admitted after the game Tuesday night that his behavior was “very unprofessional” and answered, “yeah, for sure,” when asked if he expected the NBA to take action against him.

“Very unprofessional by myself,” he said Tuesday night. “Definitely could have reacted in a different way. So, yeah, I’m a big boy. I’ll take my lumps however they come.”

The incident began after Austin Reaves was fouled hard by Suns guard Devin Booker, knocking the Lakers guard to the court. Booker then glared at Reaves before getting called for a flagrant foul penalty 1 for hitting Reaves in the nose with 3 minutes 55 seconds left in the game.

A few seconds later, Ayton came over, glared at a prone Reaves and began to stand over the Lakers guard. That’s when Beverley shoved Ayton from behind, causing him to trip over Reaves and fall.

Beverley and Ayton were given technical fouls, and Beverley was ejected from the game.

“It shouldn’t have happened, first and foremost,” Beverley said. “But I’m a big fan of protecting my teammate. Especially teammates that I go to war with every night. So, I kind of felt like the play kind of got out of control after the stare-down at Austin Reaves by Book and then another stare-down by Ayton. And the refs didn’t really come in and kind of break it up. So, I’m not going for that. … That’s what I saw.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate that it happened on national TV, but you know me, regardless of what’s going on, I’m a big fan of protecting my teammates. … I’m a foxhole guy. I put on the jersey and I commit to a team, I commit to a city and it’s kind of my motto. I’m a foxhole guy. Very unfortunate situation, though.”

It was obvious that the NBA took into consideration a situation between Beverley and Chris Paul. When Beverley was playing for the Clippers and they advanced to the 2021 Western Conference finals against Phoenix, Beverley pushed Paul in the back. Beverley was suspended for one game without pay for “an unsportsmanlike act,” according to the NBA.

In 14 games as a starter for the Lakers this season, Beverley is averaging 4.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists, and he was shooting 26.6% from the field and 23.8% from three-point range.

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