If I busted my ass all season to earn the second-best record in the league, and in turn, the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference NBA Playoffs, only to face the reigning champs—who are technically the No. 7 seed, but not really—in the opening round, I’d probably be pissed, too.
And if that same team, the Los Angeles Lakers, proceeded to whoop our ass in Game 3 of our series, despite the fact that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left the game with a quad-contusion, Anthony Davis and his unibrow are a nagging injury incarnate, and LeBron James is playing on one leg, my anger (and embarrassment) would only intensify.
But Devin Booker, this ain’t the way.
In case you have no godly idea what the hell I’m talking about, the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers went to war in Game 3 of their playoff series on Thursday night. And with less than a minute left in a game that was much more lopsided than the box score indicates—the Lakers won 109-95—a frustrated Booker committed the unpardonable basketball sin: He shoved a defenseless Dennis Schröder while he was in the act of shooting.
Aside from deserving to have his ass tarred, feathered, and stomped the fuck out, Booker was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for being a bitch-ass nigga and was immediately ejected from the game. (It was also his sixth foul, so he was done for the night either way.)
If you pay close attention, you’ll also notice Jae Crowder helped knock Schröder to the ground. He would pop off aftward and after getting T’d up by the refs, he was ejected as well.
Thankfully, Schröder wasn’t injured during the play and afterward, he sounded the bells of war against the Suns.
“That wasn’t a basketball play,” he said. “And [in the] regular season, it’s probably a suspension as well.”
LeBron, who somehow finished the game with 21 points and nine assists despite playing with one leg, wasn’t feeling Booker’s dirty play either.
“I thought the play wasn’t a basketball play,” he said. “Many times, someone gets airborne, shoving them out of the air can be dangerous.”
Davis echoed LeBron’s sentiments.
“Can’t do that,” he said. “I mean it’s playoff basketball, but you don’t push a guy out of the air like that with two hands. It’s a dirty play. Dennis could’ve really gotten hurt right there. [...] Hard fouls, things like that, playoff basketball, we accept those, but to blatantly push a guy with two hands out of the air, it’s a scary play. Good thing he’s OK, but plays like that are unacceptable.”
Look, I’ve been there.
In a past life, there were plenty of times where NBA Live 95 or Dragon’s Dogma or Grand Theft Auto 5 tried to play me, and I got so pissed off that I either threw my controller into the kitchen or hurled my TV at Uranus. But rage-quitting hits a little different when somebody can actually get hurt; and pushing somebody in mid-air just because you’re shooting 6-19 from the floor and getting your ass kicked up and down the court is some Grade-A bullshit.
I love when the playoffs get physical just like everybody else, but the NBA could be coming down hard on Booker for this one in order to deter other players from following suit. And if that happens, his teammates might be the ones shoving his ass on the ground for leaving them shorthanded.
Game 4 of their first-round playoff series goes down on Sunday, and hopefully, the Suns will be able to dig themselves out of a 2-1 hole.
Just don’t rage-quit again in the final seconds.