Frustrations carried over to the locker room on Thursday after the Suns' 108–86 loss in Portland.
Phoenix Suns rookie center Deandre Ayton and star shooting guard Devin Booker "exchanged words" on Thursday after the team's lopsided 108–86 loss in Portland, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reported.
According to Rankin, tension between Ayton and Booker was still noticeable after the team's 10-minute cooling off period at the end of the game. The two were still in the middle the exchange when media members started entering the visiting locker room.
Ayton and Booker have previously gotten into heated exchanges on the court, where Booker previously corrected Ayton's moves during certain plays.
“This is my team,” Ayton said, according to The Athletic's Gina Mizell. “I feel everything. … When we lose and stuff like this, I’m hurting. I take it (with) pride. I’m the guy that’s gonna be here for (several) years. We’ve just got to stay positive. I wouldn’t say I’m getting a lot of pressure, but you start to feel the load. You start to feel everybody’s energy. You just start to sense it’s not there.”
Ayton's discontent is a result of consecutive nine-point first-quarter performances from his 4–21 Phoenix Suns. After falling 122–105 to Sacremento on Tuesday, Phoenix once again lost in embarassing fashion on Thursday which may have caused frustrtions to boil over into the locker room.
Ayton and Booker weren't the only two whose emotions got the best of them on Thursday. During the third quarter of the Suns' game in Portland, coach Igor Kokoskov and rookie Mikal Bridges also got in a tense exchange.
The Suns' team chemistry will be put to the test again on Friday night when the team hosts the Miami Heat at 9 p.m. ET.