Tensions are brewing in Los Angeles, with Lakers teammates starting to square off against each other rather than their scheduled opponents.
During Friday night’s contest between the Lakers and Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors, a spat broke out on the bench between teammates Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard.
The scene escalated quickly: AD putting hands on Howard after the big man got to his feet to stand off against Davis. An ensuing shove by Davis sent Howard falling backwards, with teammates then stepping in to separate the two.
Davis was allegedly heated over Howard’s play and approached him on the bench in evident frustration.
The pressure from Friday’s loss, 121-114, weighed heavier than early-season action of recent years. Championship expectations still loom on a Lakers team that performed well below projections in 2020 with a first-round postseason exit against the Phoenix Suns.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel spoke on the heightened tensions from Friday, crediting the season’s rocky start as the catalyst for the fight.
“When you’re getting your ass kicked, sometimes those conversations get heated,” said Vogel. “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.”
Dwight Howard addressed the incident after the game, claiming he and AD are no longer adversarial toward each other.
“We squashed it right then and there,” Howard said. “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.”
The Lakers lost their season opener against the Phoenix Suns, 115-105, and face off against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday to avoid an 0-3 start.
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