Nick Young's scuffle with Suns sign of Lakers' woes

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Nick Young was heated with the Phoenix Suns, but it was the secondary lack of reaction -- or lack thereof -- that ended up hurting him most.

PHOENIX -- Initially, this story was about Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young losing his cool. Dumb move, nothing else to see here.

Young had a right to be upset after being scraped across the face by Phoenix Suns rookie Alex Len, who would earn a Flagrant 2 foul and an ejection. Young got up from a hard foul looking for trouble, and by elbowing Suns guard Goran Dragic in the face after Phoenix's players surrounded him, hurt an already battered Lakers roster by earning his own ticket to the locker room.

Instead of accepting his bone-headed reaction, Young opened a can of worms with a theme that's been too common in the Los Angeles locker room over the last few seasons.

"I got caught up in the moment like anyone would," Young said. "It was a tough foul. What I'm mad about is it was 1-on-5, I felt like, and if somebody would have gotten in the middle, it wouldn't have escalated that much."

This is deeper than allowing a Suns team without Eric Bledsoe to score 121 points, out-rebound the Lakers by 10 and score 64 points in the paint thanks to 36 fastbreak points.

When Suns guard Gerald Green said he'd cover Len if the NBA brought the hammer down on the rookie center with a fine, Young's teammates wavered in support of their fellow Laker. Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall, who had something to prove against his former team that traded him after a single season, could only say his teammate wasn't thinking about team. Marshall said Young's reaction "wasn't the smartest play."

"I think Nick kind of saw what he wanted to see at the time," Marshall said when prodded the second time about Young's 1-on-5 comment. "You got to understand we got seven guys (on the roster), so maybe at that point in time you just got to chill out."

That didn't disprove Young's assertion his team wasn't behind him. Former Lakers forward Robert Horry added to the conversation by criticizing rookie forward Ryan Kelly on the team's local broadcast for not being more involved in the scrum, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin.

Young felt bad about elbowing Dragic, who had seemingly jumped into the scuffle to separate Markieff and Marcus Morris away from the edgy Lakers guard. Young had cooled off enough after the game to brush off any beef with the Suns, but in doing so had added to the questions of team unity he'd jumped into head-first.

"He was right there, he was the last person right there and I didn't throw a punch," Young said of Dragic. "I was trying to shove people out of the way. It was more of a push, but it happened and I feel bad. He's my guy."

So who exactly are his guys? It's a question perhaps all of the Lakers should ask, otherwise the downward slope could get even more steep.

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