Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka Traded Haymakers in Toronto

Lopez and Ibaka threw down hard during the Bulls-Raptors game Tuesday night, and it was really close to being really ugly.
March 22, 2017, 1:45pm

Bulls center Robin Lopez and Raptors forward Serge Ibaka got themselves ejected Tuesday night for a bit of brawl that saw two wild haymakers, and a whole bunch of pushing and shoving. Lopez got redirected into Ibaka while battling for rebounding position; after the basket went in, Ibaka gave him a little elbow in the back, and Lopez sort of snapped. He swatted the ball out of Ibaka's hands and the two big men started shoving, with Lopez launching the first punch, which just missed Ibaka's face. Ibaka returned serve with a punch that glanced off Lopez's face. Bulls forward Nikola Mirotić and Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire were also T'd up in the fracas.

As it normally goes when dudes are fighting while being held in every which direction, there were no clean shots, but there was one really close call. Lopez's sledgehammer of a fist comes so close to catching Ibaka square in the nose that he had to pull off some Neo-in-the-Matrix-style maneuver to avoid it. His own punch was actually more of a flying wrist that hit Lopez in the ear.


The Raptors were down 16 points at the time. They lost Ibaka, who had 16 points and six rebounds on the night, but pulled off the comeback in a quarter and a half (plus overtime) to win 122-120 for the first time in 12 games. Don't poke the sleeping Raptor, I guess?

Back home in the States, Robin's twin brother, Brook, also had his name in lights, albeit for more basketball-related reasons. The Nets big man hit a fadeaway one-handed jumper at the buzzer to help Brooklyn beat the Detroit Pistons, 98-96. After the game, though, all anyone wanted to know about was his brother throwing down. Brook was not surprised at all, saying, "He always" threw the first punch when they scrapped growing up because "he's messed up like that." He also said he'd be pulling for Ibaka should this turn into a legitimate grudge match.

Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka got ejected for throwing punches at each other. Brook Lopez says he's pulling for Ibaka in the grudge match.
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) March 22, 2017

Surely the league will have more in the way of punishment—they're probably not hoping for a future grudge match.

Update: Both Ibaka and Lopez have been suspended one game each.

Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka both suspended.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 22, 2017