NBA regular season

Giannis Antetokounmpo involved in postgame scrap after Bucks-record 64


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Giannis Antetokounmpo involved in postgame scrap after Bucks-record 64

MAIN MAN. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo grabs a rebound in the second quarter against the Indiana Pacers.

Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Giannis Antetokounmpo erupts for 64 points to set a Bucks franchise record but the two-time MVP figures in a heated altercation over the game ball

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a franchise-record 64 points against the visiting Indiana Pacers – and then the drama truly began postgame.

Antetokounmpo got in a scuffle in the area of the Pacers’ locker room while looking for the game ball after the Bucks’ 140-126 win on Wednesday, December 13 (Thursday, December 14, Manila time).

According to multiple media reports, Antetokounmpo and several teammates pursued the ball in the tunnel. 

Antetokounmpo then came back on the court and said some heated words to Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton before finally walking away.

“From my understanding there was just a misunderstanding after the game,” Haliburton said later.

“For some reason he wanted to confront me. I was just standing out there. We beat them twice (recently), so they came out with some fire today and they took care of business.”

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle later said that his team took one of the two game balls to give to Oscar Tshiebwe, who recorded his first NBA point in the contest.

When Antetokounmpo finally got to his postgame interview, he was asked if he had the game ball.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I really don’t know. I have a ball but I don’t know if it’s the game ball. It doesn’t feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new ball. I can tell. I played, what, 35 minutes today. I know how the game ball felt.”

ESPN reported that a Bucks official got the actual game ball from the floor at the final buzzer.

Antetokounmpo added that he only wanted the ball to give to teammate Damian Lillard, who moved into fifth place in NBA history for three-pointers made during the contest.

“I understand, when you score your first point in the NBA you want to have the ball or whatever the case may be,” Antetokounmpo said. 

“But at the end of the day, you’re talking about the guy that just skipped Kyle Korver in the all-time (three-pointers) list. In my opinion, we should all stop what we’re doing and appreciate greatness.”

Carlisle added, “Unfortunate situation. We don’t need the official game ball. There’s two game balls there, we could’ve taken the other one. But it didn’t need to escalate to that.

“Really just unfortunate. Third game we played these guys within 2 1/2, three weeks, so things are heated with the competition, and I understand all that, but for it to come into the hallway, it didn’t need to happen that way.”

Another skirmish

Things also got heated in the fourth quarter. 

A skirmish broke out after Aaron Nesmith had Antetokounmpo wrapped up around the neck while going up for a layup. 

Bobby Portis and others confronted Nesmith and ultimately Nesmith received only a flagrant one.

Portis was eventually ejected after picking up a technical for confronting Nesmith and another one shortly after for continuing to jaw with Pacers players.

After the theatrics, Milwaukee was able to hang on to their lead in the final frame. Antetokounmpo put Milwaukee up by 18 with back-to-back layups.

While appearing to put the game out of reach, Indiana would hang around enough for Antetokounmpo to stay in the game.

Indiana missed out on the chance to clinch the season series over their division rival for the first time since the 2017-2018 season. 

The Pacers won the first two meetings on November 9 (126-124) and December 7 (128-119). These teams will play two consecutive games on Jan. 1 and 3 to close out the series. –

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