With physicality elevating in all levels, things got a little bit chippy between Brook Lopez and Trey Lyles.
As the Milwaukee Bucks were just a few seconds away from snatching a gritty Monday win over the Sacramento Kings, Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbled out the ball and reached the midcourt. The superstar, having the ball dribbled into his hands, got in front of Lyles as if it was a taunting action.
Lyles didn’t appreciate what Antetokounmpo did, shoving him with his two hands which prompted Lopez to enter the sequence.
Both big men went at it and forced their respective teammates and personnel to separate them. Eventually, they were ejected upon the assessment of the officials.
Right at postgame, De’Aaron Fox stated that his team took exception to what appeared as taunting from Antetokounmpo.
“Giannis can just dribble the ball out,” Fox said. “That’s all he had to do, and nothing would have happened.”
For his part, Lyles, who instigated the heated play, can’t agree more to what Fox argued.
“I think Fox said it pretty well,” Lyles told reporters (h/t Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson). “It could have been avoided if he just dribbled it out. If you watch, I’m just walking back with my head down. He crossed in front of me.
“… He sold it a bit. It was nothing personal.”
The Bucks came out of Sacramento with Antetokounmpo dominating for 46 points. His frontcourt partner in Lopez also feasted with 23 points and eight boards.
Lopez’ solid night was marred by a tough matchup against Domantas Sabonis, and the physical game even brought him a scratch at his face.
“We have our teammate’s back,” Sabonis said. “Trey didn’t like what was happening. We’re all there for him, you know?”
For Lopez, what Lyles did was unpleasant as a teammate of Antetokounmpo.
“I thought what that guy did to Giannis was cheap,” Lopez said after the game, via Mark Haynes. “He didn’t need to do any of that stuff. He stepped up to Giannis a little bit as he walked off and I didn’t like that. I had my guy’s back like I would have any of my teammates.”
It is yet to be seen if there will be a fine or suspension that will be handed out for both Lopez and Lyles.