The Lakers’ Patrick Beverley suspended three games for shoving Deandre Ayton

Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley (21) chases a ball against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Ringo HW Chiu)

Lakers guard Patrick Beverley, chasing a loose ball, has been handed a three-game ban by the NBA after knocking Suns center Deandre Ayton to the ground during a stoppage in play. (Ringo HW Chiu/Associated Press)

The NBA felt that Patrick Beverley’s “history of unsportsmanlike conduct” played a major role in getting the Lakers point guard suspended for three games without pay for “violently shoving Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton from behind and hitting him during a.” Attacking the footprint center pitch had encountered Tuesday’s loss, the league announced on Thursday.

While Beverley will serve his suspension Friday night when the Lakers take on the San Antonio Spurs in their first straight game here, Los Angeles is awaiting the return of LeBron James, who has missed the last five games due to a left adductor strain.

Beverley, who will also miss Saturday night’s game here against the Spurs and Monday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers at Arena, admitted after Tuesday night’s game that his behavior was “very unprofessional,” responding, ” Yes, sure,” when asked if he expected the NBA to take action against him.

“Very unprofessional from me,” he said on Tuesday evening. “One could have reacted differently. So yeah, I’m a big boy. I take my lumps however they come.”

The incident began after Austin Reaves was severely fouled by Suns guard Devin Booker, throwing the Lakers guard in court. Booker then glared at Reaves before being called out for a flagrant foul penalty 1 for punching Reaves in the nose with 3 minutes and 55 seconds left.

A few seconds later, Ayton walked over, glared at a prone Reaves, and began to position himself over the Lakers guard. Just then, Beverley pushed Ayton from behind causing him to trip over Reaves and fall.

Beverley and Ayton received technical fouls and Beverley was knocked out of the game.

“It shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Beverley said. “But I’m a big fan of protecting my teammate. Especially teammates I go to war with every night. So I felt like after Austin Reaves stared down at Book and another stared down at Ayton, the track kind of got out of hand. And the umpires didn’t really come in and kind of broke it down. Well, I won’t go into that. … I have seen that.

“Obviously it’s unfortunate that it happened on national television but you know me, no matter what, I’m a huge fan of protecting my teammates. … I’m a foxhole guy. I put on the jersey and I’m committed to a team, I’m committed to a city and that’s sort of my motto. I’m a foxhole guy. Very unfortunate situation though.”

It was obvious that the NBA was considering a situation between Beverley and Chris Paul. When Beverley played for the Clippers and they reached the 2021 Western Conference Finals against Phoenix, Beverley pushed Paul in the back. Beverley was banned from playing an unpaid game for “an unsportsmanlike act,” according to the NBA.

In 14 games as a starter for the Lakers this season, Beverley averaged 4.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists, and he shot 26.6% from the field and 23.8% from three-point range.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.