Photo: Frame shot of Fox Sports Arizona Footage

Nick Young is Left High and Dry by Lakers Teammates in Scuffle


Jan 15, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Nick Young (0) walks off the court after being ejected against the Phoenix Suns in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

In the second quarter of a one point game, with about 7 minutes to play till the half, Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers leaks out after a Phoenix Suns’ made basket and gets ahead of the defense for what looks like an easy dunk. To prevent the easy basket Suns’ rookie Alex Len commits a hard foul on Nick Young while he is in full flight and defenseless in the air; the vicious forearm strike to Young’s head knocks him to the floor.

 

Understandably, Young reacts like any player that had just been wacked across the head while in a precarious position and thrown to the floor, with rage. Young gets up quickly and goes after the perpetrator Len but is blocked by a wall of his Suns’ teammates like an offensive line protecting a quarterback. Young, still in the midst of rage and in a defensive stance with a crowd of Suns players surrounding him, takes a swing at Goran Dragic of the Suns.

 

Kurt Rambis and one of the officials is able to get a hold of the fuming Young and pull him away from the skirmish, detaining him by the Lakers’ bench which was in close proximity.

 

After the incident, the question begging to be asked was where were Young’s teammates? Young had just been the victim of a cheap and hard forearm clubbing to the head by a player on the opposing team and he stood there surrounded by a crowd of white Suns’ jerseys and nothing else. Young stood alone.

 

 

As you can see by the video, four of Young’s Lakers “teammates” (term is used loosely) that were on the floor at the time were Ryan Kelly, Chris Kaman, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall.

 

Ryan Kelly was the nearest to the start of the action. As Young begins his aggressive move towards Len then backs up to get in his defensive  stance, Kelly drifts back out of harm’s way. Kelly makes no attempt to cut through the crowd of Suns and assist Young.

 

Chris Kaman is a little farther back but walks with the same level of urgency that Kelly displayed. Kaman remained in the outskirts of the ruckus, but, once Young was safely corralled by the Lakers bench, Kaman does his part in protecting his teammate by briefly brushing his hand onto Len’s chest. Way to go Kaman, that will show Len to not take out one of your own.

 

Take a good look at the video, Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall do not react at all. Their teammate just knocked down and in the middle of what could be a fight where he is surrounded and outnumbered, yet Marshall and Meeks cant even muster up enough concern to even slightly pick their pace of their already gingerly stroll to the action.

 

Photo: Frame shot of Foxs Sports Arizona footage.

Photo: Frame shot of Fox Sports Arizona footage.

 

I count three Lakers on the periphery on this shot, one (Marshall) with his hands on his hips, while Young is still in full on fight mode and surrounded.

 

 

Let’s count the Suns in the frame, all five including the perp, Alex Len. This shot was when Young was finally pulled away, still Marshall’s hands rest comfortably on his hips.

 

Let’s compare this to another moment where a player is taken out and see how his teammates respond. We’ll use the cross town rival Los Angeles Clippers footage of Blake Griffin being taken out by Jason Smith of New Orleans.

 

 

Do you see the stark difference in Blake Griffin’s teammates reaction? Immediately after the foul Randy Foye sprints into the action with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan charging hard right behind him. Not shown in the video are all three of the aforementioned players going after Jason Smith, putting fingers in his face and jawing at him.

 

Blake Griffin’s teammates had his back. Nick Young’s did not.

 

Following the game, Young spoke about the incident and his teammate’s response:

 

“What I’m mad about is it was 1-on-5, I felt like,” Young said. “If somebody would have got in the middle, everything wouldn’t have escalated that much.”

 

Instead, Young took a swing at Goran Dragic, was ejected from last night’s game and will likely be suspended for another game.

 

Whether you agree with Young’s response is irrelevant.  As a teammate you have the responsibility to protect and have the back of one of your own. It is part of being a team and that’s prevalent at any level of team sports.  In that exact moment that Young hit that floor every player needed to run to Young’s side, if for nothing else to merely stand next to him, protect him from the other players that surrounded him and himself. Except those four teammates did nothing. They let Young to fend for himself.

 

What seems inconsequential in an already lost season, the Lakers lost the game to the Suns, 121-114. It was their 6th loss in a row and 12th loss in their last 13 games. The Lakers are now just a game and a half ahead of Utah Jazz who are in last place in the Western Conference.

 

Last night’s loss, the string of recent losses and disappointing season thus far pales in comparison to the immensely embarrassing display by Young’s teammates. Last night they officially hit rock bottom, not because they were blown out of another game, but because they lost their understanding of what it means to be a team.

 

Is Nick Young right to be angry at his teammates?

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You can reach me at the my Twitter handle, @fullcourtfern, or on Instagram @raining3sdotcom, to discuss this article, anything Lakers or NBA related, or if you want to invite me to go grab a beer somewhere in L.A. You’re paying of course.

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Tags: Alex Len Featured Fight Nick Young Nick Young Alex Len Fight Popular

  • Devon Murray

    This is one of the most ignorant and yellow journalism I have ever read on this website. Nick goes after Goran AFTER he gets pushed by one of the Morris Bro. The Lakers are down to 8 guys, even if one or two guys step in they could have been ejected; then what now were discussing how the This Lakers team doesn’t know how to control their emotions. Thirdly, if Kendall, the only pg, or Jodie (top scorer) gets ejected were down 3 players. Nick is dividing this teams with bush league comments like that, if he wanted to do damage he should have done what Kobe would have, 45pts 12 asst. 15rebs and a win…he wants to be like Kobe, well he has a lot to learn about leadership and putting himself and his emotional feelings before the team and winning.

    • Fern Rea

      First off, thanks for reading.

      Secondly, I disagree.
      You are coming from a very logical, sensible and calm approach; the ability to think this way goes out the window when you get hit upside the head like Young did. His response was instinctual. So is running to protect a teammate.

      I never stated that his teammates should have gone in with fist swinging, but, what about just running to stand between him and the 5 other Suns players that surrounded him. Young’s teammates barely moved, they showed little concern for him or interest. That is inexcusable.

      Did you see how Blake Griffin’s teammate responded in the above clip? That is what a teammate is supposed to do and what usually happens.

      • Devon Murray

        I hear you Fern, and that was my first thought as well, until I thought if Kendall and Jodie ran over how would have the suns reacted or the refs, are they coming to calm the situation or make it worse, Kendall and Jodie have to go talk to Nick because they both were asked by Ireland about what Nick said about the 5 on 1 comment, Kendall didn’t know what to say and made it worse by saying what he said and Jodie’s look after it was brought to him was like “why would he say that to the media”… I totally agree that it was inexcusable, I really wanted Nick to drop 50 on them and now they are going to have to make things right with each other, because if i’m Nick I am beyond angry… but if your Kendall, Jodie, Pau or Kelly knowing the dire situation of players or the lack of, if it looks as if we are coming to run over to help or cause more chaos it will hurt us more. I watched that game with Jason and Blake and that I what I would’ve like the lakers to have done last night yet only having the 8 players was a cause to stop and handle it on the court, yes I am talking hindsight but I hope Kendall Jodie Johnson and Nick talk because that can and will linger… and yes bro read your articles all the time… just a frustrated fan right now..

        • Daryl Peek

          Did any of the Clippers players get ejected from the other video? In 84 when Rambis was closed lined Worthy and others rushed to his side and Worthy actually kept Rambis from going after Gerald Henderson by knocking Rambis back down. The strange thing is Bird was actually the one to help Rambis back up after Worthy knocked him down.

          These type of skirmishes are all to common and rarely do they escalate because of a team face off. By the time all gather cooler heads usually prevail. But you must defend your teammate. No way around that! This dire situation has nothing to do with it. Your not thinking at the inception of that moment. all you see is your brother under attack. I really can’t believe folks are even trying to go there?!?

          This is the problem with this team. No fight. This shows why we cannot stop teams from scoring in the paint or come out so lack luster in the second half when we need to fight. You can NEVER entertain that kinda of were shorthanded handicap mentality. It has a far reaching effect which translates into bad team chemistry which is exactly what we have been seeing.

          This team is getting punked so much lately its hard to watch! I for one am glad Young said enough is enough. He took a stand any man would given he got hit first and felt it was cross the line. Someone on this team has got to fight.

      • Daryl Peek

        AWESOME article man!! I’ve been arguing with many who are taking this were too short handed BS? Excuse my French.

        Well summed up!

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