Robin Lopez suspended for one game after fight with Raptors' Serge Ibaka
Mar 23 2017 by Dustin Murphy
Not since the Knicks-Nuggets fight back in 2006, but they all came to an end on Tuesday when Chicao Bulls' Robin Lopez and Minnesota Timberwolves' Serge Ibaka got into each others face and actually threw a punch.
Robin Lopez #8 of the Chicago Bulls fights with DeMar DeRozan #10 and Serge Ibaka #9 of the Toronto Raptors during the second half of an National Basketball Association game at Air Canada Centre on March 21, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.
DeMar DeRozan crowned a 42-point display with a crucial overtime basket as the Toronto Raptors came from behind to down the Chicago Bulls 122-120 in a bruising battle on Tuesday. Lopez responded by grabbing the ball out of Ibaka's hand and tempers exploded.
Ibaka will miss Toronto's game against the Heat on Thursday in Miami.
For the Bulls, the timing could have been better as Lopez's punishment meant he wasn't at the United Center when they took the court against the Pistons and their load of a big man, Andre Drummond. In 14 games, Ibaka is averaging 14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks while knocking down 39.7 percent of his threes, and he's fourth on the team in fourth-quarter minutes despite a few blowouts during this stretch.
The two players continued to lob harsh words at each other and were separated by teammates.
Denzel Valentine missed a 3-point attempt on Chicago's next possession and Patrick Patterson had a tip-in layup to make it 119-115 Toronto with 44.7 seconds remaining.
"I think it was just a really physical game for everybody, it just kind of hit a flashpoint", Lopez said. DeRozan matched his career high with his 54th 20-point game, set during the 2015-16 season. They'll likely both be suspended multiple games.
"He's got a fire to him that you just don't ever want to take away".
"It seemed like I had three guys on me, I was being pulled back".
If Lopez is suspended and cannot play, here's what Chicago's starting lineup could look like: Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Paul Zipser, and Joffrey Lauvergne.