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Nick Young ejected, Lakers defeated by Phoenix Suns, 121-114

The player's removal because of a 'punching foul' could bring another blow to the team: suspension. The Lakers fall to 14th in the Western Conference.

January 15, 2014|By Mike Bresnahan

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PHOENIX — Dreadful season. Just when Lakers fans thought it couldn't get worse, it did.

Nick Young was ejected in the second quarter because of a "punching foul" and later said he felt ignored by teammates in the midst of a skirmish Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.

The Lakers touched new depths — 14th in the Western Conference — after a 121-114 loss and also might have fumbled the only thing they had left, their decent team chemistry.

And sure, the guy who blistered them for 28 points at US Airways Center was cut by them in training camp two seasons ago.

BOX SCORE: Phoenix Suns 121, Lakers 114

But the game and its aftermath centered on Young, a good guy gone wild after being fouled hard by Alex Len while attempting a fastbreak layup with 7 minutes 33 seconds left in the second quarter.

Young popped up quickly from the court and shoved Len, a 7-foot-1 center. After getting pushed briefly by Suns forward Marcus Morris, Young struck Suns guard Goran Dragic on the head with an open hand.

Referees studied the play on a courtside monitor and ejected Young for throwing a punch. Len was tossed because of a flagrant foul.

Young had nine points in 10 minutes and yanked off his jersey before he left the court, a final display of disrespect. He's one of the nicer players in the game, but a suspension is almost surely coming. The Lakers are also privately worried that Jordan Hill will be suspended for leaving the bench during the altercation.

Young was unhappy with his teammates, feeling they didn't come to his rescue.

"What I'm mad about is just it was one on five," Young said. "I felt like if somebody would have got in the middle, it wouldn't have escalated that much."

Kendall Marshall, Ryan Kelly, Jodie Meeks and Chris Kaman were also on the court. Young wanted them to come to his defense?

"Yeah, yeah," he said, denying he threw a punch. "I was trying to shove people out of my way. I was getting pushed and pushed further back. It was more trying to get out. It happened. I feel bad."

Young's teammates basically rolled their eyes at his declaration.

"I think Nick kind of saw what he wanted to see at the time," said Marshall, who made only four of 16 shots. "You've got to understand that we've got seven [healthy] guys, so maybe at that point in time you've just got to chill out."

The Lakers actually had nine healthy guys, including Wesley Johnson, who was on the bench while Young was ejected.

"It just happened to be that everyone from their team was in front of him at the time, so I just think that's all he saw at the spur of that moment," Johnson said. "It wasn't as bad as it looked to him."

The Suns said they demonstrated the flip side of the Lakers' alleged lack of help.

"Absolutely, if you mess with one of us, all of us will be there," said Gerald Green, whose 28 points were a season high. "I hate that happened to the rookie [Len]. I don't think it was intentional. Hope the NBA doesn't do anything, but if [they] do, I'll take care of it."

As for the game, the Lakers (14-25) lost their sixth in a row and 12th in their last 13.

Pau Gasol had 24 points, Johnson had 22 and Kaman added 18, but the most important stat could be how many games Young and Hill are suspended.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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