Shaquille O'Neal gave his two cents on the scuffle that took place between the LA Lakers and the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 22. Towards the end of the Lakers' 115-105 loss, Patrick Beverley pushed (or body-blocked) Deandre Ayton, who toppled over Lakers guard Austin Reaves.
Beverley was assessed a technical foul and was ejected. The following Thursday, the NBA suspended him for three games without pay. This was the sixth such incident for Beverley this season, and a three-game suspension will roughly cost him $269,000, according to Spotrac. The Suns' Devin Booker drew a flagrant foul for raking Reaves across the face while blocking a shot, knocking Reaves down.
On TNT's "The Big Podcast with Shaquille O'Neal," O'Neal said:
"Maybe two or three games is probably warranted for what he did. I'm proud of it, because when you're on a team, you're trying to win a championship.
"Not saying they're gonna win a championship, but it's 12-15 people against the world. I know that for a fact. But, you know, I think Pat will push somebody in the front, and he's always been a guy ... to stick up for his teammates."
When asked why Anthony Davis didn't retaliate as Ayton stood over Reaves, O'Neal said:
"That's not his character. He's a lover, not a fighter. AD is one of those smooth big men. I'm not gonna disrespect his game – I really like his game – but that's Pat Bev's character."
After the game, Anthony Davis also lauded Beverley for stepping up to Ayton, who was standing over someone much smaller than him who was on the floor at the time. Davis said that Ayton stepping over Reaves was disrespectful.
Shaquille O'Neal's notable scuffles over the years
O'Neal is unequivocally recognized as the most dominant center the game has ever seen. Owing to his extraordinarily charged personality, 7-foot-1 stature and incredible rim-running abilities, O'Neal was involved in ferocious scuffles during his NBA career.
Be it dunking on Chris Dudley, engaging in a feud with Kobe Bryant that changed the course of the Lakers' dynasty or fighting with his now-fellow panelist Charles Barkley, O'Neal is no stranger to beefs.
On his fight with Barkley, O'Neal recalled:
"As soon as I get to the thing, Jerome handed me the phone," Shaq said. "I hear this lady's voice I've never heard before, 'You better not put your hands on my baby!'
"I was like, 'Who's this?' 'It's Mama Barkley.' ... And his mom and my mom was on three-way, 'Don't you know we've been bestfriends for 20-30 years?!'"
Shaquille O'Neal also fought Alvin Robertson, Charles Oakley and Dennis Rodman in some of the most memorable on-court scuffles during his time in the NBA.
Poll : Who is your MVP pick for Super Bowl LVII?