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Nick Young suspended 1 game, Alex Len and Marcus Morris fined for roles in Lakers-Suns altercation (Video)

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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Alex Len (left) and Nick Young (right) try to get at one another. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

UPDATE: 1/16/14, 7:25 p.m.:: NBA Vice President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn brought the hammer down on Thursday evening, as detailed by The Associated Press:

Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young was suspended one game without pay by the NBA on Thursday for throwing a punch at Phoenix's Goran Dragic in the first half the previous night.
Suns center Alex Len, ejected after receiving a Flagrant 2 foul against Young, was fined $15,000, and teammate Marcus Morris was fined $25,000 for his involvement.

Next time, just do a silly little "obscene gesture" dance, Mr. Len. You'll still have to pay $15,000, but we'll all have much more fun and nobody will get hurt.

Young will serve his one-game suspension on Friday, when the shorthanded Lakers take on the longtime rival Boston Celtics. The game is expected to feature the return of Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, who has been sidelined for nearly a year since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.


Things got pretty physical during the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' Wednesday visit to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns. In the process, the "certain brand of laid-back California cool" that makes "Swaggy P" so eminently imitation-worthy evaporated in the desert heat.

We pick things up with just over 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the second quarter, after a Markieff Morris dunk off a dish by Goran Dragic gave the Suns a 36-35 lead. The Lakers push the ball up the floor off the make, finding Young racing out along the right wing with Phoenix a step slow getting back in transition:

Young drives into the paint, elevates and cocks his right arm back to throw down a tomahawk slam. Suns rookie center Alex Len, who doesn't want to give up a dunk, brings his right arm down hard and whacks Young across the face. Young crashes to the floor along the baseline, but instantly pops up and goes right back at the 7-footer from Maryland.

Young shoves Len. Phoenix forward Marcus Morris steps in and shoves Young. Young circles to his right, trying to make his way back toward Len, only to find his path impeded by Dragic. Young lashes out with his right arm, hitting Dragic on the side of the head, before he's eventually pushed all the way over to the Lakers bench and the referees get things under control.

After official review, the referees determined that Young threw a punch at Dragic, triggering an immediate ejection. They also judged Len's foul to be worthy of a flagrant-2 for "unnecessary and excessive" contact, which also triggers an immediate ejection. Marcus Morris was also assessed a technical foul for his shove on Young.

Dragic split the two free throws Phoenix received for Young's punch; Wesley Johnson made the two free throws L.A. got for Len's flagrant-2; Jodie Meeks made the free throw the Lakers got for Morris' technical. After all that, L.A. led 38-37, and we had two fewer players on the bench. On his way back to the locker room at U.S. Airways Center, Young took off his Lakers jersey and his undershirt, throwing the latter to the crowd but hanging onto the former in sort of a reverse Andrew Bynum moment. Len, on the other hand, remained fully clothed.

Young, the Lakers' leading scorer on the season, finished with nine points on 4 for 8 shooting, three rebounds and one assist in just under 11 minutes. Len — the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, who was making just his 10th appearance of a rookie season limited by ankle injuries — chipped in two points on 1 for 3 shooting, three rebounds and a block in 4 1/2 minutes.

With the rest of the night off, Young apparently elected to attempt to calm himself down via social media back in the L.A. locker room:

SwaggyP is already browsing Instagram @LakersNation pic.twitter.com/BAxunb4NVj

— Benjamin Glew (@BenjaminGlew) January 16, 2014

Evidently, though, spending some time browsing/double-tapping didn't quite soothe Swaggy's sore feelings at his Lakers teammates' reaction to the fray:

Nick Young says he's disappointed his teammates didn't back him up. Said he was "one on five" out there.

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 16, 2014

His coach and his point guard respectfully disagreed:

Mike D'Antoni brushed off Nick Young's claim that more Lakers should have come to his side, saying that L.A. didn't more guys ejected

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 16, 2014

Kendall put the onus back on Nick Young, citing LA's limited roster and him getting ejected: "I don't know if that was the smartest thing"

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 16, 2014

Marshall on all the action starting w/Len's foul on Young: "We got 7 guys, so maybe at that time you just have to chill out."

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 16, 2014

More Kendall Marshall on Nick Young's claim that nobody backed him up: "Nick kind of saw what he wanted to see at the time"

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 16, 2014

On one hand, given the Lakers' incredibly depleted roster — no Kobe, no Nash, no Steve Blake, no Jordan Farmar, no Xavier Henry — it makes plenty of sense not to want to spread the bench any thinner than it already is. On the other, though, Young did take a pretty big and, to these eyes, unnecessarily heavy shot from Len, and got up to see four Suns staring at him with nary a purple and gold jersey in sight, save for rookie Ryan Kelly caught up in the middle of all that Phoenix white; you can't fault him too much for wondering where his backup was. Either way: never a dull moment in Hollywood.

Additional penalties will almost certainly be forthcoming for one or more of the players involved; as soon as the league metes out its brand of justice, we'll let you know what punishment the fighters face.

With Young and Len back in the locker room, the Suns went on to score a 124-117 win. Gerald Green had a game-high 28 points on 12 for 18 shooting and seven rebounds, while point guard Goran Dragic (18 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, seven turnovers), Markieff Morris (24 points, seven rebounds, four assists in 29 minutes off the bench) and Channing Frye (20 points, eight rebounds) helped carry the load for Phoenix, who improved to 13-5 at home. Big men Pau Gasol (24 points, nine rebounds, five assists) and Chris Kaman (18 points, five rebounds) performed well in the middle, but couldn't stop L.A. from dropping its sixth straight game. The injury-plagued Lakers have now lost 11 of 12, and own the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 14-25.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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