Tempers boiled over on the Los Angeles Lakers bench Friday night when star big men Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into a brief physical altercation during a timeout.
During the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center, Davis appeared to shout something at Howard as the teams walked off the floor. Howard did not acknowledge Davis and sat down as the Lakers began to huddle. Davis then approached Howard and stood over him exchanging words. When Howard stood up, Davis grabbed Howard by the arm and yelled again before teammates stepped in to separate the two.
The altercation came as the Suns outscored the Lakers 34-18 in the second quarter to take a 57-44 lead into halftime. After leading by three after the first, the Lakers shot 6-of-19 (31.6%) from the field in the second, while the Suns were 11-of-19 (57.9%) to build a double-digit lead.
Phoenix remained in control after the break and extended the lead to as many as 32 in the second half on the way to a 115-105 win. The Suns improved to 1-1, while the Lakers dropped to 0-2.
Howard downplayed the incident after game, repeatedly saying he and Davis “squashed” the situation – a disagreement about pick-and-roll coverage, per Davis – before it became anything more.
“We squashed it right then and there, we just had a disagreement about something on the floor,” Howard said. “We’re both just very passionate. We got it out of the way, we’re grown men, things happen. But we already talked and squashed it. There’s no issue between me and him. That’s my brother, that’s my teammate.”
Davis also said the incident is “over with” after he and Howard talked things out “and left it in the locker room at halftime.”
“Two guys, we’re very competitive. We just want to win games,” Davis said. “… After the situation happened me and DH talked about it and we left it at that.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel seemed largely unbothered by the incident.
“Dwight and AD had a miscue on a coverage and they talked it out. But you know, when you’re getting your ass kicked sometimes those conversations get heated,” Vogel said. “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.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard get into altercation on Lakers bench