The NBA suspended both Bulls big man Robin Lopez and Toronto’s Serge Ibaka on Wednesday afternoon, after the two were ejected for throwing punches in the Bulls’ 122-120 loss in Toronto on Tuesday night.
The incident took place with 3:58 left in the third quarter when Lopez and Ibaka had words after a Jimmy Butler three-pointer. Lopez took a swipe at the basketball, knocking it out of Ibaka’s hand, and it quickly escalated into each player throwing a haymaker in the other’s direction, having to be separated.
Neither connected, but both players were ejected from the game.
Lopez will miss the Wednesday night game against Detroit.
“It seemed like I had three guys on me and I was being pulled back,’’ Lopez said of why he threw the punch. “And I’m not sure what was going on with him. But it felt like nobody had any hold on hm. He just kept coming at me with his arm. I was just trying to get him off me.
“I’m expecting to be suspended. Could go either way. Whatever.’’
Not that his teammates blamed him.
“Ibaka was talking to me for some time,’’ Butler said. “I was like, ‘Why? I mean c’mon, man. Play basketball.’ I didn’t see what happened. I just saw obviously punches thrown. I don’t know who hit who or who didn’t hit who. But I mean obviously he’s going to be suspended. We know that. We’re going to miss that guy, but what’s new? Next man up, right?’’