The rocky start has continued for the Los Angeles Lakers.
After going winless in preseason and dropping their first regular season game to the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers found themselves down double-digits to the Phoenix Suns in the first half.
With frustrations building during the second quarter, the situation boiled over during a timeout with 3:13 to play in the first half and the Lakers trailing 49-41.
When the ESPN broadcast returned from a commercial, the replay showed Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard needing to be separated on the bench by teammates and staff.
The pair eventually split up, although it looked like Davis was still having words with his teammate.
The Suns would finish the quarter on an 8-3 run to take a 57-44 lead into the halftime break.
Howard denied the incident would be a problem moving forward.
“We squashed it right then and there. We just had a disagreement about something on the floor,” said Howard.
“We’re very passionate about winning, we didn’t want to lose this game. We got it out of the way, we’re grown men, things happen. That’s my brother, that’s my teammate. That’s what I told him. We’re good, we squashed it, there’s no need to try to make it bigger.”
The Lakers duo may have solved their differences quickly but it didn’t help the team on the scoreboard, with Phoenix leading by greater than 30 points at one stage. Head coach Frank Vogel was blunt in his assessment of the incident between Davis and Howard.
“When you’re getting your ass kicked, sometimes those conversations get heated. Those guys love each other,” Vogel said.
It wasn’t the only evidence of frustration through the night, with Vogel picking up a technical foul along with a fan slapping Rondo’s hand on the sideline leading to his removal from his courtside seat. It was a strange night in many ways, with Vogel dismissing any idea that there will be a problem moving forward.
“It says we want to be 2-0, and we’re not. That’s all it says.”
The incident on the Lakers bench set twitter alight, with franchise legend Magic Johnson weighing in.
“Dwight Howard and AD got into a physical altercation on the bench…in my 42 years of being associated with the Lakers organization, I’ve never seen something like that smh.” Johnson tweeted.
The Lakers attempt to pour cold water on the night’s events are unlikely to slow down the discussion, with the team now 0-8 across preseason and regular season play.
Next up, the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night at Staples Center.