Lakers’ Nick Young suspended for throwing punch, two Suns fined after altercation
The NBA announced Thursday that Lakers guard Nick Young has been suspended for one game without pay for throwing a punch at Suns guard Goran Dragic during Phoenix’s 121-114 home victory on Wednesday.
Young’s punch came after he took exception to a hard foul from Suns rookie center Alex Len, a play that set off a small skirmish between the two teams. The NBA has fined Len fined $15,000 for his flagrant foul on the play and Suns forward Marcus Morris has been fined $25,000 for escalating the altercation.
Young, 28, is on the books for $1.1 million this season. A one-game suspension without pay will cost him roughly $10,000 and he will serve his suspension when the Lakers face the Celtics in Boston on Friday.
With a little less than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter and Phoenix leading 36-35, Young took a blow to the face from Len as he attempted a shot in transition. The force of the foul knocked Young to the floor, and he immediately hopped to his feet and shoved Len. At that point, Morris shoved Young in retaliation. Players from both teams then stepped in to deescalate the situation but not before Young made a punch-like motion in the direction of Dragic.
The referees assessed a flagrant foul 2 to Len for his original foul. The flagrant foul 2 designation applies to contact that is deemed “unnecessary and excessive” and it requires an automatic ejection. The referees ruled that Young was guilty of a punching foul, which also requires an automatic ejection.
ESPNLA.com reported after the game that Young was upset that his Lakers teammates didn’t have his back in the scrum.
“What I’m mad about is it was 1-on-5, I felt like,” Young said. “If somebody [from the Lakers] would have got in the middle, everything wouldn’t have escalated that much.”
98.7 FM in Phoenix reported that Dragic wasn’t exactly blown away by Young’s punch.
“He just tapped me, a friendly tap,” Dragic said. “It was nothing seriously. I didn’t even felt it. It was not a strong punch.”
Len departed with two points (on 1-for-3 shooting) and three rebounds in four minutes.
Young departed with nine points (on 4-for-8 shooting) and three rebounds in 11 minutes.
Phoenix improved to 22-16 with the win. L.A. dropped to 14-25 with its six straight loss.