A night after an NBA "brawl" between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder was really just two guys pushing each other following by standing around and holding on to teammates, Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez and Toronto Raptors big man Serge Ibaka showed Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook how it's done.
After a Chicago bucket in the teams' Tuesday-night tilt, Lopez lost his balance and stumbled backward into Ibaka. The in-season acquisition took exception to Lopez's lack of balance and responded with an elbow to his back.
This didn't make Lopez happy—he swiped at the ball, which Ibaka was holding, and all hell broke loose. While others tried to interfere, each threw one punch; Ibaka's glanced Lopez's face.
Both players were ejected. Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic and Raptors assistant Jamaal Magloire were hit with offsetting technical fouls.
After the spat, the Raptors embarked on a furious comeback from down 16 to win 122-120 in overtime.
"We were playing physical basketball and he got frustrated," Ibaka said after the win. "That thing happened, we just started pushing each other, like always happens when there's contact. And then he threw the punch. And like I man I have to defend myself. I'm not just going to be out there and watch a man like him punch me and walk away."
Lopez said he felt like he was being held back while Ibaka wasn't.
"It felt like nobody had any hold on [Ibaka]," Lopez said. "And he just kept coming at me with his arm. And I was just trying to get him off me."
Lopez on Robin: "The Lopez twins were doing what we do tonight. He's doing that dirty job – that BS – and I'm playing real basketball."
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) March 22, 2017
He also said he's rooting for Ibaka in the rematch.
Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka got ejected for throwing punches at each other.
Brook Lopez says he's pulling for Ibaka in the grudge match. pic.twitter.com/IojTobIF8k
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) March 22, 2017