'They have four rings' – Booker reveals heated Klay exchange after Warriors star ejected
Devin Booker loves and admires Klay Thompson, but that does not excuse him from being competitive after their verbal spar led to the Golden State Warriors guard's ejection from Tuesday's game.
Booker scored 34 points as the Phoenix Suns won 134-105 over the Warriors, with Thompson ejected for the first time in his career during a heated third quarter between two of the top Western Conference contenders at Footprint Center.
Thompson was thrown out of the game after consecutive technical fouls, instigated by a heated exchange with Booker that went on for several minutes.
The pair bumped chests and exchanged words, leading to double technicals for both players, but Thompson boiled over during an ensuing timeout and was thrown out after yelling at the officials, despite being restrained by Stephen Curry and assistant coach Chris DeMarco.
"I love Klay Thompson," Booker told ESPN during his on-court interview after the game. "I have from the beginning, from the draft coming out, I said I wanted to be Klay Thompson.
"But that doesn’t excuse us from competing against each other and talking a little mess with each other. I had fun with it. I'm a big fan of his and his competitive nature and that's that."
When asked at the press conference what Thompson said to Booker, he said: "They have four rings. Repeated over and over. And they do."
Thompson managed only two points on one-of-eight shooting, with that frustration boiling over, while Booker kept his composure to an extent. The Warriors guard was still shouting at the Suns bench as he was walked out following his ejection.
"He was having a tough night," Booker said. "I think everything plays into his frustration. I've been there before.
"You know what they have, they've got the four rings, they're going to use that in all the trash talk, rightfully so, respectfully. But that doesn't have anything to do with competing.
"I've always admired his game, how he plays on both sides of the ball and obviously the rings speak for themselves. Like I said, I'm going to bring it every time."
Thompson's ejection comes amid a sluggish start to the season for the five-time All-Star shooting guard, averaging 14.0 points on 40.5 per cent shooting from the field, while he has made eight-of-28 three-point attempts at 34.8 per cent.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr understood Thompson's frustration but tried to offer some perspective to his frustrated four-time NBA champion.
"One thing I will remind Klay on, he's had plenty of slow starts in his career," Kerr said. "I remember several years ago where he really struggled for the three-point line in his first four or five games.
"Klay cares so much about the game, his own impact on our team. He wants it so badly and he's trying to force everything right now. He's trying too hard. I'll remind him of that."