Tempers flared late in the Sacramento Kings' Monday night 133-124 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks between forward Trey Lyles and center Brook Lopez. Wednesday, the NBA issued a release detailing both of their punishments.
Lyles will serve a one-game suspension when the Kings travel to play the Chicago Bulls Wednesday. Lopez has been fined $25,000.
According to the league's statement, things got chaotic when "Lyles fouled and then pushed Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the back. Lopez escalated the situation by confronting Lyles. Lyles further escalated the situation by striking Lopez in the face and grabbing and holding Lopez around the neck area."
The brief summary of events omits Antetokounmpo dribbling into Lyles' path with 15.4 seconds left in the game and Milwaukee leading by eight points.
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Lopez was already infuriated before the altercation. Bleeding from his left eye caused a game stoppage with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. He appeared to curse and yell on his way to the bench to have the injury treated. The game was definitely physical, but it's unclear what contact led to the cut. It took everyone, even media personnel, to separate the Lopez and Lyles once they clashed.
Lyles was assessed two technical fouls and ejected after the chaos. Lopez was assessed one technical foul and ejected.
After the game, Antetokounmpo said he had no idea what happened. He also told reporters in the locker room he'd already promised to reimburse Lopez for the inevitable fine, acknowledging that Lopez was defending him.
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer opted to simply call the late-game scuffle between Trey Lyles and Brook Lopez "unfortunate."
Lyles has seen an expanded role off the bench in recent games and told reporters Monday night that Antetokounmpo just pushed him over the edge.
“It was nothing personal," he said. "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."
Kings All-Star De'Aaron Fox was blunt when asked about the incident. "Giannis can just dribble the ball out, that's all he had to do and nothing would have happened," he said.
At No. 3 in the Western Conference, the Kings should make their first playoff appearance in 16 years. In that effort, the whole team is committed to demanding respect from opposing teams, and even referees. Head coach Mike Brown illustrated this In December, when he was ejected from a win over the Toronto Raptors.
Brown didn't mince words about the altercation on Monday.
"We ain't taking no [expletive] from nobody. Trust me on that," he said. "If you think we're going to start something, we're not. But we're going to stand up for ourselves and each other."