Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals came to thrilling conclusion on Tuesday night.
With 0.9 seconds remaining on the clock, the Suns trailed the Clippers 103-102. As LA center DeMarcus Cousins guarded the inbounds pass, Jae Crowder threw a perfect lob to star center Deandre Ayton. With the ball just above the rim, Ayton was able to punch the ball home for what would end up as the game-winning bucket.
After the play, the Phoenix bench cleared to celebrate what they thought was the end of the game. Amid the chaos, Cousins shoved Suns star shooting guard Devin Booker, who’d already suffered what looked like a broken nose earlier in the game.
The Clippers backup center was retroactively issued a technical foul after further evaluation from the league earlier today.
Here’s a clip of the incident:
DeMarcus Cousins (LAC) has been assessed a postgame technical foul upon league review for actions at the conclusion of the game on 6/22/21. pic.twitter.com/VrS2MU8ZS3
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) June 23, 2021
Officials ruled that after Ayton’s dunk, there was still 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock. The Clippers successfully inbounded the ball to Paul George down court, but he was unable to get a shot off in time.
After the game, Booker was asked about what he said to spark the confrontation with Cousins.
According to the Suns’ All Star, all he said was a familiar phrase of collegiate pride.
“I was just saying, ‘Go Big Blue.’ That’s my Kentucky guy,” Booker said with a laugh, per NBA insider Dave McMenamin. “That’s all I was saying: ‘Go Big Blue.'”
As unlikely as this explanation is, it sure makes for a good story.
Both Booker and Cousins were one-and-done products out of coach John Calipari’s Kentucky program, but a few years apart. Cousins played for the Wildcats in 2009-10 before Booker arrived for the 2014-15 season.
The Suns will head to Los Angeles tomorrow for Game 3 with a 2-0 lead in the series.