PHOENIX — Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson was ejected for the first time in his career after picking up two consecutive technical fouls in a chippy third quarter against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
It was the five-time All-Star’s first career ejection in 759 regular-season and playoff games.
Thompson had been verbally sparring with Phoenix’s Devin Booker for several minutes through the third quarter. With six and a half minutes left in the period, the two continued to exchange words and then bumped chests, resulting in double technicals on both players.
As Thompson started to walk away, Mikal Bridges walked into him. Thompson shoved him away and shortly after was slapped with his second technical, leading to his ejection. He had to be held back by teammate Stephen Curry and Warriors assistant coach Chris DeMarco.
As Thompson left the court, he continued to yell at the Suns’ bench, waving at them while pointing to his hand, seemingly in reference to his four championship rings.
« I love Klay Thompson, I have for a really long time, » Booker said following his team’s 134-105 victory. « But that doesn’t excuse us from being competitive and talking to each other. I’ve always admired his game, how he plays on both sides of the ball, and obviously the rings speak for themselves.
« But I’m going to bring it every time. »
Describing the trash talk between the two, Booker summarized: « They have four rings, repeated over and over, and they do, and they did. »
A total of seven technical fouls were assessed in the third quarter between the two teams, all in less than six minutes. Golden State’s Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr, along with Phoenix players Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton also were whistled for technicals for various outbursts, with most of that ire directed at the officials.
Said Green: « I’m not one to get into what guys are taking about on the floor. There was chirping on both ends. »
Thompson didn’t speak with the media following the game.
In the midst of the third-quarter chaos, the Suns were playing well and their lead which grew to 19 points by the end of the quarter. Without Thompson, the defending NBA champs were never able to mount a rally and the Suns kept 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 get our best because they are the best. So, I think a lot of the emotion is just about being competitive. We don’t take it personally at all, we just understand better that once all that stuff happens, we got to get back on focusing on being competitive and trying to win the game. »
Thompson had been slated to play around 25 minutes against the Suns before his ejection. He finished the night having played 18 minutes, in which he scored just 2 points. Thompson shot 0-for-4, including 0-for-3 from 3, with Booker as his primary defender, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
« He and Book have gotten into it a little bit over the years, they’re just competitors, both great players — I remember four or five years ago when Book was first coming up, Klay was in his prime, he went at it one night in Oracle and same type of thing happened, » Kerr said. « There were no ejections, but they’re both competitive, they’re guarding each other, and this is the NBA. Highest competition in the world, stuff like that happens. »
Before the game, Kerr said Thompson has been frustrated playing under his current minutes restriction as he returns to his full conditioning. At shootaround earlier in the day, Thompson said he wasn’t expecting to need to exercise the same kind of patience as he did when he returned from a two-year hiatus last season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.