The new-look Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to a rough start this season. First, they lost to the Golden State Warriors on opening night after blowing a double-digit lead. Then, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into it on the bench during the second quarter of their matchup with the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Late in the first half, as they were coming out of a timeout, Davis went over to Howard to talk about something. As Howard stood up, Davis put his hands on Howard’s arm, which the latter did not appreciate. The two then got into a bit of a tussle as their teammates tried to break things up. Howard at one point falls back into bench, though that seemed to be a product of being off balance around the chairs more than anything.
The two kept on exchanging words, and were eventually separated for good by assistant coach Phil Handy. During the halftime show on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon speculated that Howard must have been at fault in some way because Davis does not have a reputation for going at teammates like that. What exactly caused the dispute is still unclear, but Howard said after the game that the two have sorted things out and there’s no further issues.
“We squashed it right then and there. We just had a disagreement on something that was on the floor. We’re both very passionate about winning and we didn’t want to lose this game. We’re both very passionate, so we just got it out of the way. We’re grown men, things happen. But we already talked, squashed it. There’s no issue between me and him. That’s my brother, that’s my teammate. That’s what I told him. I said ‘I’ll always be there for you. No matter what, I’m always fighting for you and I’ll do whatever I can to help this team win.’ He said the same thing. We’re good. We squashed it.”
This incident is going to get all sorts of attention, and for good reason since the Lakers and Davis and Howard are involved. But while it’s obviously not good to have these sort of public spats in the second game of the season, it’s also probably not that big of a deal.
As Howard said, this is a highly competitive environment and guys get into arguments all the time. If they hadn’t been right near the bench, which is why Howard got off balance and fell, it would not have looked as bad. In a few weeks, everyone will probably have forgotten that this even happened.