PHOENIX - The injury-riddled Los Angeles Lakers had only eight players available for Wednesday's game with the Phoenix Suns, so the last thing they needed was to lose a man to an ejection.
Forward Nick Young was kicked out in the first half after scuffling with several Phoenix Suns following a hard foul from rookie centre Alex Len.
Phoenix guard Goran Dragic was also in the middle of things when emotions boiled over with 7:33 left in the first half.
Len tried to block Young's fast-break dunk attempt but caught Young in the head instead. Young hit the ground hard, then popped up immediately looking for Len. He was intercepted by Markieff Morris and Phoenix forward Marcus Morris, but Young persisted and took a swing with an open hand that connected with the head of Dragic.
After a long delay to review the replay, Young and Len were ejected, and Marcus Morris picked a technical foul.
After the game, Young said he felt he had no choice but to defend himself because none of his teammates were in the area.
"It was a hard foul, and I just reacted. What I'm mad about is it was one-on-five," Young said. "It just felt like if somebody would have gotten in the middle, it wouldn't have escalated that much.
"I felt bad for Dragic. He was the last person right there, and I didn't throw a punch. I was trying to shove people out of the way. I was being pushed, and I was being pushed back, and it was more of me trying to get out. It was more of a push, but it happened and I feel bad."
Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni didn't agree with Young's view of things.
"You don't fight in this league, and it wouldn't help us to lose two or three more guys right now," D'Antoni said. "I hate that Nick feels that way, but I'm sure he's at the moment just talking."
Green said Len or any other Suns player would find no shortage of help in such a situation.
"If you mess with one of us, all of us will be there," Green said. "Everyone on the bench wanted to jump off the line, but you aren't trying to get fined. I hate that it happened to the rookie (Len), I don't think it was intentional. Hope the NBA doesn't do anything, but if they do, I'll take care of it."