Bucks, Pacers fight over game ball after Giannis' record-setting performance

Giannis Antetokounmpo exchanged furious words with members of the Indiana coaching staff and sprinted toward the Pacers’ locker room Wednesday night as the teams clashed in a corridor over the game ball after the Milwaukee star set a franchise high with 64 points.

After the Bucks’ 140-126 victory, Antetokounmpo exchanged animated words with Indiana star Tyrese Haliburton and other Pacers before sprinting from the court to the Indiana locker room in quest of the ball.

The Bucks wanted Antetokounmpo to have the game ball. The Pacers took the ball for Oscar Tshiebwe, who scored his first official NBA point, according to Indiana coach Rick Carlisle.

As a result, members of both teams clashed in the arena hallway. Following that, there was still some misunderstanding over who possessed which game ball.

Bucks, Pacers fight over game ball after Giannis' record-setting performance

“I’m not sure. “I’m not lying,” Antetokounmpo stated. “I’m not sure. I’m not sure. I honestly don’t know. I have a ball, but I’m not sure it’s the game ball. To me, it doesn’t feel like the game ball. It appears to be a fresh new ball. I’m sure of it. Today I played for about 35 minutes. I remember how the game ball felt. I’ll take the ball I have and present it to my mother for sure, but I’m not sure if it’s the game ball.”

One video appears to show the actual game ball being recovered by a Bucks staff member. According to Carlisle, the Pacers have a reserve game ball that they took after the game.

Bucks guard Cameron Payne stated that he was among those that went down the tunnel.

“Man wanted that ball,” said Payne. “I’m following my team and assisting a teammate.” To be honest, there was just a lot of hubbub. Man, he simply wanted his ball.”

Bucks, Pacers fight over game ball after Giannis' record-setting performance

Carlisle stated that a number of Bucks were in the hallway near the Indiana locker room when a fight broke out, with Indiana’s general manager being elbowed in the ribs.

“What happened after the game was unfortunate,” stated Carlisle. “There was some confusion concerning the game ball… We grabbed the ball without thinking about Giannis’ franchise record.

“A few minutes later, several of their players ended up in our hallway, and there was a big fracas, melee, whatever you want to call it.” I don’t believe any punches were thrown, but one of their players elbowed my general manager in the ribs. He had a bruised rib, but who knows if there was something more serious. Unfortunate circumstance.

“The official game ball isn’t required. There are two game balls. We could have taken the other one, but it didn’t have to get that far. That is truly sad.”

Carlisle mentioned that the teams had played three times in the prior several weeks and that things were heated between them. Last Thursday night, Indiana defeated Milwaukee in the semifinals of the In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas.

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