Clippers’ Bones Hyland says conflict with Mason Plumlee is behind them

Clippers guard Bones Hyland splits the defense of Suns guard Damion Lee, left, and forward Josh Okogie for a layup.
Clippers guard Bones Hyland splits the defense of Suns guard Damion Lee and forward Josh Okogie for a layup on Sunday in Phoenix.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

During a heated moment in Sunday’s regular-season finale, the Clippers went at one another.

They say they’ve moved on, focused only on battling the fourth-seeded Phoenix Suns in a first-round playoff series.

Backup guard Bones Hyland and reserve center Mason Plumlee began a heated exchange between the third and fourth quarters in Phoenix, getting in each other’s faces before Hyland shoved Plumlee away.


After the win, which secured the Clippers the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, Plumlee said the conflict resulted from defensive miscommunication. On one play late in the third quarter, both players were stuck on a screen, allowing a wide-open three-point attempt from the corner.

Plumlee said Sunday that the moment already was behind the two, who quickly took the court together to start the fourth quarter, and coach Tyronn Lue also dismissed it with a laugh.

“If it ain’t right, do something to fix it and after that little skirmish we took off and played a lot better, so maybe we should do that more often,” Lue said Sunday. “They worked it out, it’s OK. Everything’s good.”

Russell Westbrook will face former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant in a playoff series for the first time when the Clippers play the Suns on Sunday.

April 10, 2023

Hyland, who wasn’t seen in the locker room Sunday in Phoenix, also said the intensity of the moment had been “quashed.”

“It’s just competitive nature, it’s heat of the moment, we want to win the game so bad; it was a miscommunication thing,” Hyland said. “It happens. You argue, you fuss and fight your teammates, be seeing each other every day. It happens, bro; it ain’t nothing big. Me and him talked on the plane. It’s nothing. It’s quashed. People create their own narratives of what’s going on, but me and Mason know what’s going on, the team knows what’s going on.

“We deaded it literally in Phoenix. It’s nothing to worry about. We’re focused on Phoenix right now and trying to win the series.”


That focus turned to the Suns’ offense during Tuesday’s practice. Beating the Suns, who are 8-0 with All-Star forward Kevin Durant in the lineup since his February trade, is an enormous task for the Clippers, whose defense rated 17th this season and 20th since reforming their roster after the All-Star break. Game 1 is Sunday in Phoenix; the NBA has yet to announce dates or times for future games.

Purple scout-team jerseys representing Phoenix awaited the Clippers before practice, and reserve wing Brandon Boston Jr. was set to play the role of Durant in practice, but “who can really be KD?” Lue said.

Lue played coy when asked how he would employ Kawhi Leonard to guard Durant, saying “I can’t remember.”

When facing top scorers including Dallas’ Luka Doncic and Golden State’s Klay Thompson, the Clippers have focused on taking away their teammates, even if it meant seeing the stars go for 50-point nights. That’s not easily done against Phoenix with Devin Booker, who averages 27.8 points, and point guard Chris Paul ready to act as a release valve if Durant sees pressure.

“They have Kevin Durant, so it’s not just any trio,” wing Terance Mann said. “You’ve got one of the best scorers of all time out there that you’ve got to worry about now. It’s going to be a completely different game plan from when we played them in the past.”