Be glad Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka are terrible boxers

Good morning. We have that and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

The NBA had an actual fight on Tuesday night, with punches and malice and everything. Fortunately, none of the punches landed and the fracas was quickly resolved by intervening players and coaches. (The intervening players actually likely prevented the punches from landing. Nice work here by the teammates.)

Our combatants: Robin Lopez of the Chicago Bulls and Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors. Ibaka seems to instigate the fight by tossing a little elbow toward Lopez on a dead ball. Lopez takes exception and slaps at the ball. The tie up and Lopez throws a wild punch that completely misses Ibaka. Ibaka throws one back that grazes the side of Lopez’s head. After they separated, Nikola Mirotic gets tangled up with former NBA All-Star Jamaal Magloire, now a Raptors assistant.

Like I said: fracas. Lopez is likely getting suspended several games, probably one or two more than Ibaka. (Lopez escalated twice.) Mirotic will miss a game or two. Both teams will get fined out the wazoo.

Tim Cato points out that this could have been really bad had the punches landed; we haven’t had a near-melee like this in 10 years. But that wasn’t the only memorable moment from Raptors-Bulls. They combined for a bizarre couple of possessions late in the fourth. Eventually, Toronto ended its troubling 11-game losing streak to Chicago in overtime.

Scores Galore …

CHI 120, TOR 122 (OT)
DET 96, BKN 98
PHX 96, MIA 112
MEM 82, NOP 95
GSW 112, DAL 87
SAS 100, MIN 93
MIL 93, POR 90
LAC 133, LAL 109

… And Plenty More

At least one of the Lopez twins connected on his knockout punch: Brook Lopez hit a game-winner to lift the Nets over the Pistons, who gave up temporary ownership of the No. 8 seed to Miami.

Speaking of WELP THERE GO THE PLAYOFFS moment, the Blazers had a chance to effectively claim the No. 8 seed in the West for now … but lost to the Bucks at home. Denver leads by a game.

Rest in peace to Jerry Krause, the architect of those dominant ’90s Chicago Bulls teams. Here’s a nice tribute from K.C. Johnson.

Awesome story from Baxter Holmes on the NBA’s PB&J revolution.

Flannery and I discussed our favorite prospects in the NCAA Tournament. We’re in sync on Jayson Tatum but one of us doesn’t seem to believe the Lonzo Ball hype!

Brent Barry The God wore a ‘Kazaam’ pin on live TV while sitting next to Shaq.

Can LaVar Ball go too far? It turns out the answer is yes. In this case, “too far” is defined as talking about LeBron’s kids and the likelihood they’ll be NBA stars. LeBron advised Mr. Ball to keep his kids’ names out of his mouth. That seems wise!

It turns out the Sixers made a huge offer for Paul George. I think that would have been a coup for Philadelphia, personally, even if PG-13 decided he didn’t want to re-sign. The Sixers would have had an opportunity to flip him at the next trade deadline to recoup some costs.

A funny Joel Embiid Jolly Rancher commercial.

Zach Lowe on the Pacers’ future with or without Paul George.

Chris Herring invented a new stat to prove how awesome Anthony Tolliver is at drawing charges.

Gregg Popovich believes teams and the league office can find a solution on DNP-Rest.

It’s not just Brandon Roy: Penny Hardaway also coached a high school team to a state title.

Shout out to Meyers Leonard’s socks for being a shout-out to Meyers Leonard’s sick dog.

And finally: Vince Carter can still pull off the between the legs dunk … at age 40.

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