Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka exchanged punches in the third quarter of the Toronto Raptors’ 122-120 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre. Both big men were ejected after the scuffle and expected to earn a suspension.
With 3:58 remaining in the third quarter, Jimmy Butler knocked down a three-pointer, giving the Bulls a 16-point lead. Before the shot came in, Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka were battling for position under the basket. Ibaka grabbed the ball and threw an elbow on Lopez’ back.
Lopez came back and swatted the ball from Ibaka. The Raptors big man shoved Lopez, who immediately responded with a punch. Ibaka managed to land a punch before the referees and other players separated him from Lopez. He explained his action, saying that he only defended himself after Lopez threw the first punch.
“I’m not just going to be out there and watch a man like him punch me and walk away,” Ibaka said after his fourth career ejection.
Robin Lopez said that he only responded with Ibaka’s action. However, he already expected being ejected from the game for his role in the brawl.
“It felt like nobody had any hold on [Ibaka],” Lopez said. “And he just kept coming at me with his arm. And I was just trying to get him off me.”
Robin Lopez ejection hurts the Chicago Bulls
Before the scuffle, the Bulls led by 16 points. Unfortunately, the Raptors managed to bounce back in the fourth quarter and forced an overtime. Robin Lopez posted 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks before being ejected. His absence deeply hurt the Bulls, especially on the defensive end.
DeMar DeRozan exploded with 42 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, one block, and one steal. With the victory, the Raptors ended their 11-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls in Toronto.
Brook Lopez eyeing to avenge twin brother Robin
On the same day, Brook Lopez and the Brooklyn Nets are playing against the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center. Lopez admitted that he heard the news before he hit the game-winning shot against the Pistons and looking to avenge his brother when they face the Raptors.
“Well, the Lopez twins were just both doing what we do tonight,” Brook Lopez said. “He was doing his dirty job … and I was playing real basketball. Maybe we’ll get a grudge match. Who knows. I’m pulling for Ibaka, though.”
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Video courtesy: YouTube/Rapid Highlights