Bulls center Robin Lopez seemed more concerned with matching his left sock to his left foot Wednesday than with discussing the $25,000 check he has to write to the NBA.
The league came knocking two days after Lopez and teammates were involved in a shoving altercation in the third quarter of a game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Lopez was slapped for $25,000 for “escalating the altercation,” while the Thunder’s Jerami Grant was fined $20,000 for the same reason. Bulls guard Kris Dunn was fined $15,000 for instigating the incident by shoving Russell Westbrook. The Thunder’s Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder were each suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area.
“I think [the NBA] did what they did and did what they were going to do,” Lopez said.
Lopez said he wasn’t sure why he received the largest fine.
“I was just trying to get him off my guy’s back,” he said. “But if they want to call that escalation, I suppose I’m a little too preoccupied with my socks to get into a debate over word choice.”
It was noted that Lopez’s twin brother, Brook, a center for the Bucks, seems to stay technical-free, unlike Robin.
“Brook’s temper is more ferocious than mine when it comes out,” Lopez said. “It comes out far less frequently, but it is a fiery demon when it does.”
Coach Jim Boylen was just glad that no one from his team was suspended and that the bench stayed put, unlike the Thunder’s.
“I was relieved,” Boylen said. “There’s always a concern [about a suspension]. I’m grateful my assistants kept our guys on the bench so we didn’t have somebody else get suspended. They did a good job with that. Nobody wants to see a fight. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. We have to protect the players and protect the league, and I’m grateful nobody was hurt.”
One positive: The altercation created another good bonding moment for the Bulls.
“I don’t think it’s tough to bond at all,” Lopez said. “[Dunn] knows I’ve got his back. I’ve always known he’s got my back out there. I definitely think there is bonding.’’
Boylen himself avoided any punishment after grabbing Grant and pulling him out of the scrum. Coaches usually don’t grab players from the opposite team in situations like that, but Boylen said he just grabbed the first player he could to try to make sure the situation didn’t worsen.
“I thought it was a savvy move, a savvy play,” Lopez said. “You have seconds to make a decision, and he made a great judgment call in the time he had out there.”
Parker again out
Forward Jabari Parker missed his second consecutive game Wednesday. The former Simeon High School standout is ill with the virus that has now infected 13 members of the Bulls’ party that traveled to Mexico City.
The hope was to have Parker back by Friday night’s game against the Magic.