A third-quarter confrontation between Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng had both players ejected after getting dangerously close to each other during an inbounds play, provoking each other in front of the officials. Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. watched it happen up close and was proud of his teammate looking to address matters with Dieng after getting elbowed in the face.
Which one is worse, Booker getting ejected or Gorgui Deng…😠 pic.twitter.com/mW5Npyl012
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) January 23, 2019
“It’s just been a couple of games guys have been frustrated,” said Oubre, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “At the end of the day, we control our own actions and our own destiny. I’m sure he’ll be fine. It’s just something that happened and as a man, you don’t let somebody bow you in the face and not do anything about it or at least address them. I salute him for that.”
Tension has been high for the Suns player since not getting the benefit of the whistle in a heartbreaking loss against the Toronto Raptors, one which resulted in a Josh Jackson ejection and consequent comeback effort that ended in a game-winning Pascal Siakam layup.
This time around it was Jackson leading the way with a season-best 27 points, but Dieng already managed to get the Suns’ leading scorer out of the game — leaving no chance for a comeback after leading by 20 points before they were both ejected.
“He wants to be out there with the guys, so I understand why he’s upset,” Kokoskov said.
Jackson, who was in Booker’s place recently as the recipient of an ejection, voiced the same frustration on Thursday’s loss to the Raptors, as Booker had been talking with officials all game long and was distracted due to the lack of whistles.
“We didn’t get no calls, man,” Jackson said after that game. “Simple as that. I felt disrespected. That’s what happened ultimately and I don’t let nobody disrespect me. That’s what happened.”
The Suns are a young team with plenty of growing to do. Booker admitted so after losing to Toronto, yet being provoked on top of it all just builds the wrong reputation in front of officials that hope to give the benefit of doubt.