We’re heading into the home stretch of the NBA season and HANDS ARE COMING LOOSE. Praise god. On Monday, Steph Curry shook free from his middle-school-spelling-bee-champion demeanor and got physical with the Thunder. On Tuesday night, Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka fought. I didn’t know I needed this until it happened.
It popped off with just under four minutes to play in the third, with the Bulls up 16. Lopez and Ibaka were jostling for rebounding position like two spring break watercrafts on Lake Havasu. Something — perhaps Ibaka jabbing him with an elbow — set Lopez off. He turned, swiped at Serge, and well, let me first say: I don’t condone violence; violence is bad. Now peep this:
A few things:
• That’s the fastest Robin Lopez has ever moved outside of the convention center that hosts Comic-Con. Even so, the punch he unfurled was like a Dhalsim move and appeared to take eight seconds to get to Ibaka’s area code.
• Ibaka retaliated with a nice straight right hand aimed at Lopez’s front bumper. But the cloaking effect of Robin’s hair and a quick dip of his head caused the meat missle to slip wide.
• GET MY MAN FRED HOIBERG OUT OF THERE!!! I’M SO SERIOUS ABOUT THIS!!! My dude can’t even wear a tie due to the lingering effects of his multiple heart surgeries. HIS QUALITY OF LIFE IS HAMPERED BY A STRIP OF FABRIC. I know he stayed on the periphery of the crowd, but still. Please, Fred, back up. I don’t even like it when Fred stands during games.
• Remember when Matt Barnes called Serge Ibaka “fake tough”? I think about that sometimes because it was among the most dunderheaded statements in recent NBA history. Serge grew up in the Republic of Congo during the Second Congo War, which involved nine African countries and took the lives of millions of people. You don’t want it with him.
• Shouts to DeMar DeRozan and P.J. Tucker — the former for pulling Serge out of the crush and the latter for wrapping him up to keep things from escalating. Because Ibaka definitely wanted more.
• You can see Jimmy Butler get in a stance for a second just in case any other Raptors were looking for it.
Both players were ejected. But when Lopez made for the showers, his teammates treated him like Paulie’s crew treats Henry Hill after he caught his first case. My friend Zach, a fervent Bulls fan, called it his happiest Bulls moment in four years.
Whatever the league decides to do with fines and suspensions, I hope they wait until Draymond Green gives his ruling. He has to make that his shtick now.
Peace, love, and Eastern Conference basketball.