The skirmish between Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka apparently started underneath the rim when Ibaka reportedly snatched away a rebound from Lopez causing Lopez to react by swiping the ball away. The two had words.
The NBA does not see these kind of things happen often - and for good reason.
The Toronto Raptors continue to struggle without Kyle Lowry and are either losing games or needing big second half comebacks to win. And I think that's the way we're going to go moving forward. I had to defend myself so that's what happened. "And I was just trying to get him off me".
Not only were Lopez and Ibaka suspended a game, but the league also fined Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire $15,000 for pushing Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic in the wake of the dustup.
"I just hope the league will do a better job to watch, because if that was me, we would not get to that point, punching and stuff", Ibaka said after the game. But the Raptors still had Jonas Valanciunas and Patrick Patterson, who came up with extremely clutch blocks and a put back in the final minutes of regulation and overtime. It isn't just how great he is defensively (that was a master class on Jimmy Butler in the fourth and overtime after doing similar things against Paul George in the previous game), but he also is getting more out of his teammates.
Tucker, who's been a ball of energy on the defensive end since he was acquired at the trade deadline, pulled the team together after Ibaka's ejection.
"It felt like nobody had any hold on [Ibaka]", Lopez said.
Chicago's collective decision to go small was exacerbated by trading Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott - whose replacements Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne totaled six minutes of action in Toronto. "We'll deal with it and move on, and we'll be happy to have him in the lineup on Friday".
Bulls were around a +250 underdog in a game.against the Toronto Raptors!
Toronto's Serge Ibaka and Chicago's Robin Lopez were involved in the fight after Ibaka elbowed his opponent's lower back. Eastern Conference, 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs. NBA Southeast and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
The Bulls bench came in with a 4 point lead in the 2nd quarter and quickly got it over double-digits with some three-pointers by Valentine, Portis, and Zipser. A layup by Fred VanVleet reduced the lead to two points. Losing 11 straight games to a slightly worse opponent is odd, and it got to the point that Bulls and Raptors players have recognized that it had become a Thing.