The Suners left Staples Center on Tuesday night with a 114–104 victory over the Lakers, but Phoenix's key scorers were not ready to celebrate the victory.
With just seven minutes remaining in the third quarter of that contest, All-Star guard Devin Booker hit with a back-to-back technical foul, forcing him to walk to the locker room early. The ejection happened so quickly that even TNT's Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson were initially confused as to why Booker is leaving the courtroom.
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Anderson provided the audience to re-watch the play later in the broadcast, which went down.
“So Lebron [James] Is fouled by [Deandre] Volume. This is called [referee] Tyler Ford, “Anderson said.” He immediately booked the tee. Booker throws the ball [officiating crew chief] Mark Davis, then he receives by a quick t [referee] Justin Van Dune, who throws him out. “
In a postgame interview with ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis offered more detail on the sequence of events:
McMen: Why was Devin Booker fired?
Davis: Booker received his first technical dishonesty for continuously complaining and then received his second technical dishonesty, and was removed, according to the rule, for directing profane language as a sports officer.
McMain: Why did Justin Van Dunne assess a second technical dishonesty after Tyler Ford made the first call and abstained from playing already?
Davis: For directing profane language in a sports officer.
Sun coach coach Monty Williams told reporters during his postgame availability that he had not received any kind of explanation in real-time, but he also did not pay attention because his team “had to move on.”
“I saw him talking. I looked back and forth, and to be honest with you, I didn't need an explanation,” Williams said. “The team we need to be, maybe, we've been able to handle the moments when they go our way. And that's what I had to do. Get Cam Johnson into the game and move on to the next game. “
Phoenix gained a three-point lead in the fourth quarter, but managed to take Los Angeles out of the final frame 28-21 without Booker. Booker finished with 17 points, six assists, three rebellions and three steals in 24 minutes.