LOS ANGELES — The Lakers flexed their muscles in Game 3 on Thursday night, dominating much of the second half to defeat the Suns 109-95.
Some frustrations for Phoenix boiled over in the closing minute when Dennis Schröder drove into the lane and Devin Booker was called for a foul, pushing Schröder as he tried to attack the basket.
It was Booker's sixth foul, so he was fouled out of the game anyway. Officials went to the monitor and ended up calling it a Flagrant 2, resulting in an ejection for Booker.
Many were surprised it was called for a Flagrant 2. While Schröder hit the floor, he started doing push-ups on the ground shortly after. He was fine.
You can see the play below. Slow-motion replay shows Booker clearly push Schröder as he goes airborne.
It erupted a conversation on Twitter about whether the ejection was soft, whether it was a dangerous foul, whether everyone was overreacting or whether Booker had that ejection coming. Often the opinions aligned with the hashtags in the Twitter bios, no surprise there.
Either way, the timing of the play played a factor in the call for a Flagrant 2 and I don't think there's any denying that. It was in the final minute of the game, Booker was fouled out anyway and it's been a physical series. I don't believe this would have been called a Flagrant 2 in the second quarter or in a 1-point game late. This was the officiating crew sending a message.
There have now been 10 technical or flagrant fouls in the series through three games.
That's not to say it's not a good look for Booker. But it's the NBA, it's a frustration foul, we see it multiple times every single game.
Lakers star Anthony Davis really didn't like it. In fact, he was interviewed live on TNT after the game and called it a dirty play by Booker and he had a lot to say about it.
"Can't happen, can't do that. It's playoff basketball but you don't push a guy out of the air like that two hands. It's a dirty play, Dennis could've really got hurt right there," Davis said. "We keep it in between the lines and I know Monty, he's not that type of coach, he's probably going to say something to him...That just can't happen. Hard fouls, playoff basketball we accept those but just to blatantly push a guy with two hands out of the air, it's a scary play. Good thing he's OK but plays like that, it's unacceptable."
Devin Booker was asked about the foul after the game and didn't go in-depth when asked about the source of his frustration on the foul.
"I mean, we're losing the game, we want to win," Booker said.
Booker didn't answer a follow-up question when asked to react to Davis calling the play dirty.
Davis was notably called for a Flagrant 1 for kicking Jae Crowder in the mid-section on a jump shot in the first minute of Game 2.
Game 4 is in Los Angeles on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. before they head back to Phoenix for Game 5 on Tuesday.
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