Giannis drops 64; scuffle ensues with Pacers after Bucks’ win

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo exchanged heated phrases with members of the Indiana workers and raced towards the Pacers’ locker room Wednesday evening as each groups squared off in a hallway in a dispute over the sport ball following the Milwaukee Bucks star’s franchise-record 64-point efficiency.

After Milwaukee’s 140-126 victory, Antetokounmpo had an animated dialogue with Indiana star Tyrese Haliburton and different Pacers earlier than speeding from the courtroom towards the Indiana locker room, seemingly in the hunt for the sport ball.

Indiana coach Rick Carlisle mentioned after the sport that the Pacers took the ball for Oscar Tshiebwe, who scored his first official NBA level within the sport.

That led to a confrontation between members of the groups within the enviornment hallway. Carlisle mentioned a number of Bucks gamers, together with Antetokounmpo, got here into the Pacers’ tunnel on the lookout for the ball and {that a} scuffle ensued. He mentioned Pacers GM Chad Buchanan was elbowed within the ribs by one of many Bucks gamers.

“Unlucky scenario,” Carlisle mentioned. “We do not want the official sport ball. There’s two sport balls there, we may’ve taken the opposite one. Nevertheless it did not have to escalate to that. Actually simply unlucky. Third sport we performed these guys inside 2½, three weeks, so issues are heated with the competitors, and I perceive all that, however for it to return into the hallway, it did not have to occur that method.”

Bucks guard Cameron Payne mentioned he was one of many gamers who went down the tunnel.

“Man wished that ball,” Payne mentioned, referring to Antetokounmpo. “I am following my workforce, serving to my teammate out. It was simply a whole lot of commotion, truthfully. He simply wished his ball, man.”

Antetokounmpo echoed Carlisle’s sentiments, calling the incident “unlucky.” He mentioned he truly wished the sport ball as a result of he felt it ought to go to teammate Damian Lillard, who made his 2,451st profession 3-pointer on Wednesday evening to go Kyle Korver for fifth place in NBA historical past.

“I perceive, whenever you rating your first level within the NBA you need to have the ball or regardless of the case could also be,” Antetokounmpo mentioned of the Pacers honoring Tshiebwe’s feat. “However on the finish of the day you are speaking concerning the man that simply skipped Kyle Korver within the all-time checklist. In my view, we should always all cease what we’re doing and respect greatness.”

The postgame incident overshadowed a dominant efficiency from Antetokounmpo, who broke the workforce report of 57 factors set by Michael Redd in 2006 in a 113-111 loss to the Utah Jazz. Antetokounmpo’s earlier profession excessive was 55 in a 123-113 victory over Washington in January 2023. He had 54 at Indiana on Nov. 9.

“He is an unstoppable participant. You may’t guard him one-on-one. You’ve got received some actually good guys surrounding him, however on the finish of the day, it is all him,” Bucks coach Adrian Griffin mentioned. “His expertise. His potential. His will. He has an unimaginable will to win, and he’ll do no matter it takes to win. I am simply teaching the sport and one of many coaches instructed me, ‘Yeah, Giannis has 50. I had no concept.’ However wow, what an excellent efficiency.”

Antetokounmpo was 20 of 28 from the sphere, made 24 of 32 free throws and had 14 rebounds.

He grew to become the primary participant in NBA historical past to make not less than 20 area targets and 20 free throws in a sport whereas taking pictures not less than 70% on every. It is also essentially the most factors with fewer than 30 area purpose makes an attempt in a sport in NBA historical past.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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