Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, 76’s Montrezl Harrell involved in postgame brawl

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, 76’s Montrezl Harrell involved in postgame brawl

PHILADELPHIA – STOLEN BASKETBALL. Crash ladder. Petty rejections and threats of violence.

This was the scene that dominated Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, as it unfolded later 76ers the beat Box 110-102.

Milwaukee Superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo Tried to shoot extra foul shots after terrible play at the line. Sixers backup center Montrezal Harrell And a coaching staff member, Jordan Love, returned to the court, took the ball from Harrell Giannis and refused to return it.

Harrell stood in the corner, shaking his head and holding the ball while Antetokounmpo urged him on.

“It’s not f—— Milwaukee,” Harrell barked at Antetokounmpo. athletic. “Take it- from there.”

As if it wasn’t weird to see a bench player taking the ball from the two-time MVP after a game and yelling at him, the situation just got weirder. Love stood between Giannis and Harrell and told Antetokounmpo that he couldn’t have a ball to shoot and that he wasn’t allowed to shoot on the floor after the game.

So Antetokounmpo, who shot 4-of-15 from the line during the game, the worst shooting performance of his career, left the court and returned with two basketballs.

When he returned, a Wells Fargo Center employee pushed a large, A-frame ladder in front of the hoop where Giannis was shooting. Antetokounmpo asked the man to move the stairs so he could finish shooting, and twice the man said no.

Enraged at the now surprising situation, Giannis tried to move the ladder out of the way and knocked it over, injuring him. The arena staff were scattered as the stairs to the court collapsed.

Video of the incident with the stairs was posted on Twitter by a Philadelphia fan at the arena.

“I never try to disrespect anybody, in any shape or form,” Antetokounmpo said an hour after the incident. “I think what happened today is just unfortunate. I think people don’t respect the fact that sometimes players want to get some extra work. I think kicking someone off the court or taking the ball or whatever the case is. Or put a ladder in front of someone while he’s trying to do his job. We get paid to do it. They just didn’t pick us. We get paid.”

There are more. Antetokounmpo, now visibly frustrated, went about his business on one end of the floor, while Harrell was shooting at the other.

“Yeah I got the ball, let’s get out of here,” Harrell said, as Giannis yelled from his sideline: “I’m doing my job.”

After Antetokounmpo left the court for good, his brother, a Milwaukee teammate Thanasis Antetokounmpo, walked to midcourt to talk to Harrell. The Sixers reserve center threatened Thanasis, saying at separate times “I’m gonna beat your A” and “you better send that back to the locker room.” Thanasis leaves without incident.

The Sixers declined to comment, but a league source said arena staff immediately removed the video equipment from the top of both backboards after each game. Philadelphia hosts Minnesota Saturday at Wells Fargo.

It seemed like Harrell’s problem was that an opposing player, in this case, Giannis, shouldn’t try to take extra shots as the visiting team postgame. But there are no rules, written or unwritten, preventing this, and players on both teams who either struggle to shoot, or don’t get much of a chance, sometimes return to the floor after a game for a little extra work.

Giannis was still excited when he returned to the locker room as he recounted the incident to his teammates, who shook their heads in disbelief. The atmosphere inside was tense, and quite, except for Giannis’ voice as he explained and re-explained what had happened.

Then someone repeatedly turned off the lights in the room as the players tried to get dressed, which annoyed them even more.

It turned out that the culprit was Giannis’ 2-year-old son, Liam Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo finished the game with 25 points and 14 rebounds. He’s actually on the worst two-game stretch of his career at the foul line. In Wednesday’s win over ClevelandGiannis shot 4-of-11.

“It’s fun for me because I have a basketball court at my house and my kids always go and shoot, and every time it’s 9 o’clock at night I go and take the ball out of their hands,” Antetokounmpo said. “I think we’re more mature than that. We are professional athletes who try to do our job. You can go and ask (Harrell). I offered him shooting, let’s shoot together. Meanwhile, I don’t understand it because I have a basket behind me. Behind me was another basket. And, he chooses to come get my ball, have his coach get in front of me and move me off the court to another basket.

“I will not try to fight anyone. I have kids now, I need to save my money. But now, if you see it as disrespect, that’s on you.”

Antetokounmpo is shooting a career-worst .587 from the foul line this season, but 8-of-26 over a two-game stretch certainly skews the numbers early in this schedule. In the two games before these last two foul-shot clunkers, he was 11-of-18 and 7-of-8 on free throws.

“I’m not just making them up, simple as that,” Giannis said. “I don’t think there is any problem. The ball is not going in.”

athleticof Staff writer Eric Nehm contributed to this story.

(Photo: Eric Hartline/USA Today)

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