On Friday night, a scuffle broke out between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, resulting in lots of shoving and shouting.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Lakers and Tyler Ulis of the Suns were the main aggressors, getting in each other's faces as teammates joined the fray to try to separate them.
However, star Los Angeles rookie point guard Lonzo Ball - the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft - was seen walking away from the fight casually, causing many to say he didn't have his teammate's back.
Regardless of what Ball's intentions were, this wasn't a good look for the rising star, as he had his back turned to the action and was walking away:
After the game, though, Ball explained his actions, as you can see in the video below. Though Caldwell-Pope likely would have wanted Ball's support, the star guard said he simply didn't want to get involved for a different reason than trying to avoid the fight.
In the video below, Ball said he was simply trying to avoid a technical, adding that players in the NBA aren't actually going to fight on the court, so he didn't feel the need to back his teammate up:
“It’s [the] NBA," he said. "People ain’t really gonna fight. I ain’t trying to get no tech.”
To be fair, it's probably a good thing for the Lakers that Ball didn't get into the mix, as an injury to Ball or a suspension is the last thing the struggling team needs right now.
Though the Lakers lost the game to the Suns 122-113, they've won two out of three matchups with Phoenix so far this year. Lakers coach Luke Walton told ESPN.com that he thinks the high volume of games between the two teams already this year led to a bit of the chippy play:
"We've played three times in such a short amount of time, and it's like the same idea behind a playoff series," Walton said. "By Game 3, 4, 5, it starts to get chippy."
Ball didn't have his best game against the Suns, either, scoring only six points in 38 minutes while also adding six rebounds, six assists and five steals. That's not the kind of production the Lakers need from Ball if they're going to win.
Whether or not the scuffle threw him off his game is debatable, but Ball needs to have his teammates' backs in the future or the Lakers are going to continue to struggle.