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

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo exchanged heated phrases with members of the Indiana employees and raced towards the Pacers’ locker room Wednesday night time 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 dashing from the courtroom towards the Indiana locker room, seemingly in quest of 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 recreation.

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 in search of 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 state of affairs,” Carlisle mentioned. “We do not want the official recreation ball. There’s two recreation balls there, we may’ve taken the opposite one. Nevertheless it did not must escalate to that. Actually simply unlucky. Third recreation 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 must occur that means.”

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 group, serving to my teammate out. It was simply a variety of commotion, actually. He simply wished his ball, man.”

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

“I perceive, once you rating your first level within the NBA you wish 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 in regards to the man that simply skipped Kyle Korver within the all-time checklist. For my part, we should always all cease what we’re doing and respect greatness.”

The postgame incident overshadowed a dominant efficiency from Antetokounmpo, who broke the group file 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’ll be able to’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 advised me, ‘Yeah, Giannis has 50. I had no thought.’ 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 at the least 20 discipline objectives and 20 free throws in a recreation whereas taking pictures at the least 70% on every. It is also probably the most factors with fewer than 30 discipline objective makes an attempt in a recreation in NBA historical past.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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