PHOENIX — Golden State Warriors guardian Klay Thompson was sent off for the first time in his career after picking up two consecutive technical fouls in a choppy third quarter against the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.
It was the five-time All-Star’s first career ejection in 759 regular season and playoff games.
Thompson had a verbal fight with Phoenix Devin Booker for several minutes until the third. With 6½ minutes remaining in the quarter, the two continued to exchange words and then hit each other’s chests resulting in a technical double fault on both players.
As Thompson began to walk away, Mikal Bridges entered into him. Thompson pushed Bridges back and soon after he was slapped with his second T, which led to his ejection. Thompson had to be restrained by his teammate Stephen Curry and Warriors assistant coach Chris DeMarco.
As Thompson walked off the field, he continued to yell at the Suns bench, waving at them while pointing his hand, seemingly in reference to his four championship rings.
“I love Klay Thompson, I’ve had him for a really long time,” Booker said after his team’s game. 134-105 victory. “But that doesn’t excuse us for being competitive and talking to each other. I’ve always admired his game, the way he plays on both sides of the ball, and obviously the rings speak for themselves.
“But I will bring it every time.”
Describing the trash talk between the two, Booker summed up, “They’ve got four rings, repeated over and over, and they do it, and they did it.”
A total of seven technical fouls were inflicted in the third quarter between the two teams, all in less than six minutes. golden state Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr with Phoenix players Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton were also whistled for Ts for various outbursts, with most of that anger directed at the officials.
As Green explained, “I’m not one to get into what guys are talking about on the floor. There were tweets from both sides.”
Thompson did not speak to the media after the game.
Amid the chaos of the third quarter, the Suns were playing well and their lead had increased to 19 points by the end of the quarter. Without Thompson, the defending NBA champions could never mount a rally, and the Suns held a comfortable lead throughout the fourth.
“I think both teams want it; I don’t think it’s personal at all. I think we just respect them; they’re the champions,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “So they’re going to do our best because they’re the best. So I think a lot of the emotion is just being competitive. We don’t take it personally at all, we understand better than once all that stuff happens, we have to focus on the competition and try to win the game.”
Thompson was expected to play about 25 minutes against the Suns before his ejection. He ended the night having played 18 minutes, during which he only scored 2 points. Thompson shot 0 for 4, including 0 for 3 of 3, with Booker as the primary defenseman, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“He and Book have kinda gotten into it over the years, they’re just competitors, both great players – I remember four or five years ago when Book first appeared, Klay was in his prime, he went there one night at Oracle and the same kind of thing happened,” Kerr said. “There were no ejections, but they’re both competitive, they protect each other, and that’s the NBA. The highest competition in the world, stuff like that happens.”
Before the game, Kerr said Thompson was frustrated playing under his current minute restriction as he returned to full conditioning. At the shoot earlier today, Thompson says he didn’t expect to have to have the same kind of patience as he did when he returned from a two-year break last season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.