The Los Angeles Lakers had a frustrating afternoon against the Phoenix Suns, and that played out in the fourth quarter after a hard foul on LeBron James. The moment came when James missed a free throw but was fouled by Chris Paul trying to rebound it. He went down to the floor in apparent pain, but elsewhere on the floor, the real drama started.
Alex Caruso got control of the ball before the foul was called, but he got into it with Suns guard Cameron Payne, who ran into Caruso to try to take the ball. Caruso smacked it away, but when Payne got it back, he threw it at Caruso. Then, Montrezl Harrell charged in and shoved Payne, and from there, coaches and officials had to separate the two sides.
Caruso and Harrell were both called for technical fouls for the Lakers. Payne was called for two separate technical fouls and was therefore ejected from the game. The technical fouls offset, so neither side shot free throws. James, fortunately, was okay and was able to stay in the game.
The Suns led the game for most of the way and were up by nine when the incident took place. Ultimately, they held that lead as Phoenix came away with a 99-90 win in Game 1. The Lakers were seemingly frustrated by their struggles, and the hard foul on James exacerbated the issue. Harrell was ejected from a game earlier in the season due to a fight against the Toronto Raptors. In the playoffs, better discipline is a necessity. The Lakers and Suns can't afford to lose players to ejections or suspensions because of incidents like this.