Star shooting guard Klay Thompson was ejected for the first time in his long NBA career in the Golden State Warriors’ tempestuous 134-105 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
In the third quarter of the chippy loss to the Suns, Thompson and Phoenix’s Devin Booker could be seen exchanging words with one another as tempers flared.
According to Booker after the game, Thompson repeatedly gloated to Booker that he had four NBA championship rings as the two bumped chests and went back and forth at each other. The Suns have made it to the NBA Finals three times in franchise history, but have yet to win an NBA title.
Both received technical fouls as a result of the tussle. Thompson reacted angrily to the officials, earning a second technical foul and his subsequent ejection from the game.
The ejection was Thompson’s first in 796 NBA regular season and postseason games.
After he was ejected, the five-time All Star had to be held back by teammate Steph Curry and one of the team’s assistant coaches.
As he walked off the court, Thompson could be seen pointing to his hand as he looked over to the Suns bench, reiterating the point he had apparently been making to Booker.
Booker told the media afterwards that he liked the trash talk, saying the two were “competitors.”
“I love Klay Thompson. I have for a really long time. But it’s not going to excuse from us being competitive and talking to each other,” Booker explained. “I’ve always admired his game, how he plays on both ends of the ball. And obviously, the rings speak for themselves.”
At the time of Thompson’s ejection, the Warriors trailed by just six points. However, the Suns took control of the game from that point and Golden State couldn’t close the gap to less than 12 points for the remainder of the game.
Seven technical fouls were handed out in the third quarter of the fiery game, including to Phoenix players Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton and Warriors’ forward Draymond Green and head coach Steve Kerr.
“I think both teams want it. I don’t think it’s personal at all. I think we just respect them. They’re the champions,” Suns coach Monty Williams said.
“So they’re going to get our best because they are the best, so I think a lot of the emotion is just about being competitive. We don’t take it personally at all, we just understand better that once all that stuff happens, we got to get back on focusing being competitive and trying to win the game.”
Tuesday’s clash was one full of passion and animosity, and one which felt like a late-season playoff game.
In the midst of the trash talk and heated exchanges, the Suns used a big second half – including a 15-1 run – to pull away from the defending champions.
Booker led the way for the Suns with 34 points and seven assists, while Miles Bridges and Jock Landale both contributed 17 points.
Curry led the Warriors with 21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Jordan Poole added 17 points and five assists off the bench.
With both teams having only played four games of the new season, the Suns improve to a 3-1 record while the Warriors fall to 2-2.