While it was not exactly lost in the resulting outcome, the Raptors’ Serge Ibaka did engage in some fisticuffs with Robin Lopez last night in Toronto’s eventual defeat of the Bulls. Since the final 12 minutes of the game (including five minutes of overtime) were some of the more stirring in memory, it’s possible to set the fight aside.
But, of course, we know it won’t be. Suspensions are coming.
First, the incident:
Here’s what I think happened:
Ibaka gave Lopez a little shot in the back with his elbow after Jimmy Butler made that three. Lopez didn’t like it, and he reacted by slapping at the ball and getting into Ibaka’s face. Unfortunately, Ibaka responded by getting his hands up to push Lopez off in the chest/neck area. Then both teams’ players run in, and then Lopez pops off with a punch that misses Ibaka. As one would expect, Serge responds in kind.
(There’s also a separate confrontation here that ends with Raptors player development consultant Jamaal Magloire pushing Nikola Mirotic, which will definitely result in a fine — and some kind of suspension perhaps. The league just got an ear full from the Lakers’ Luke Walton about team personnel touching an opposition’s players, so not the best timing for Jamaal to go looking for a rumble.)
Thankfully both punches missed, but in watching this clip again, there are no winners here. Both had a role to play in escalating the situation. There’s no clear precedent for a suspension here — it’s been awhile since the NBA had a fight with punches thrown — but the speculation is anywhere from one to five games. Let’s see what decision is handed down.
Anyway, here is what Serge Ibaka had to say post-game in the locker room:
(Aside: I’m looking in vain for an embed-able video of Lopez’ post-game comments. If anyone finds one, let me know.)
And now, bonus, Brook Lopez also weighs in. He seems fun.
Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka got ejected for throwing punches at each other.— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) March 22, 2017
Brook Lopez says he's pulling for Ibaka in the grudge match. pic.twitter.com/IojTobIF8k
More as it happens.