Brook Lopez ejected for standing up for Giannis Antetokounmpo after Trey Lyles' shove in Bucks' win over Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t quite sure what was happening, only that Brook Lopez had gotten face-to-face with Trey Lyles with 15.4 seconds left of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 133-124 victory over the Sacramento Kings Monday night at the Golden 1 Center.
Antetokounmpo was dribbling the ball up the court to run out the clock when Lyles began poking at the ball, drawing a foul. Lyles then pushed Antetokounmpo, drawing the ire of Lopez.
“Then I just saw Brook being upset and he is usually is not that upset,” Antetokounmpo said. “He was yelling ‘don’t do that again, don’t push him like that.’ Then I realized ... he pushed me in my back. Obviously I appreciate Brook having my back and that’s my guy, not just on the court, off the court, for life he’s my guy.”
Added Lopez, “That’s all I was doing. The game was over. Giannis is dribbling out the clock. I don’t know what that guy was doing messing with Giannis, doing too much. Like I said, the game was already over. So, I just wanted to go out there and protect my guy.”
The Bucks’ 7-footer and the 6-9 Lyles exchanged words before Lyles pushed Lopez in the face, and the two tangled all the way to the scorers table.
“It was nothing personal,” Lyles told Sacramento media postgame. “But, a bigger guy walks down on me I’m not really one for talking. It takes a lot for me to get out of character. Just not going to go for that.
“It’s at the end of the game, then why initiate it?” Lyles said. “If you’re going to do that, then you have to be ready for the repercussions of it. I’m not saying it’s right by any means, but what happened is what happened.”
Both players were assessed technical fouls and ejected.
In the Bucks locker room, Lopez’s teammates were not surprised he reacted the way he did.
“I’m not gonna lie – it’s expected,” Jrue Holiday said. “Not only from him, but from everybody. Just let people know we a family over here and I mean, all that cheap stuff, we don’t really play it. I feel like there’s times where we kind of seem like we’re real professional and all that – which we are – but we don’t really go for the b.s. either.”
Bobby Portis agreed.
“I think he did what he’s supposed to do,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got each other’s back on this team. Someone does that to anybody on the team, I think the same reaction is going to be from the guys that step up in that position and in those types of situations.
"Definitely a shout out to Brook for having Giannis’ back. I don’t think that the push was necessary was after the foul. I know frustrations are probably high. He was doing his thing all night. It’ll be OK. Shoutout to Brook though, for sure. We gotta have each other’s back. We all we got.”
On the other end of it, Kings head coach Mike Brown had the same feeling
“I don’t know what happened, but we ain’t takin’ no s--- from nobody,” Brown said. “Trust me on that. And they all gonna have each other’s back in there. That don’t mean we’re going to go out there and start something. We’re not. But we’re going to stand up for ourselves and each other.”
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer refrained from specific comment on the incident but called it unfortunate.
Antetokounmpo added that he’ll take care of Lopez for taking care of him.
“Definitely going to pay for his techs,” Antetokounmpo said. “Going to, what you call it, reimburse him. I already told him. But I just appreciate people having my back because at the end of the day, as much as you want to get into people’s face and kind of stand up for yourself, it’s something that I try not to do as much.
"I try to focus on my game. People kind of understand that and take my kindness for weakness and my teammates are there to have my back and say that hey, you can’t be doing this no more. I appreciate them doing that for me.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brook Lopez ejected for backin up for Giannis after Trey Lyles' shove