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#pounditSunday, July 14, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo gets heated with Pacers for taking his historic game ball

Giannis Antetokounmpo pointing his finger angrily

The Indiana Pacers apparently pulled an old schoolyard move on Giannis Antetokounmpo after Wednesday’s game.

The Milwaukee Bucks star Antetokounmpo had a game for the history books against the Pacers, erupting for 64 points to lead his team to a 140-126 win. On top of it being Antetokounmpo’s career-high in points scored, it marked a Bucks franchise record (breaking Michael Redd’s tally of 57 in 2006) and the most points scored by any NBA player so far this season.

Antetokounmpo’s magical evening unfortunately ended on a sour note though as he got into a disagreement with the Pacers after the final whistle. The two-time NBA MVP understandably wanted to keep the game ball to commemorate his incredible outing. But according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Pacers took the game ball away.

Antetokounmpo was seen on the local broadcast angrily charging out of the Milwaukee locker room and confronting several members of the Pacers, including star guard Tyrese Haliburton and assistant coach Lloyd Pierce. Antetokounmpo would end up returning to the locker room with no ball visible in his grasp.

Here is the video of the postgame confrontation.

Haynes later reported that the initial explanation given by a Pacers player was that they wanted to keep the game ball because of something else that happened during the contest — Indiana rookie Oscar Tshiebwe scored his first career point in the fourth quarter. Ultimately though, Bucks security was eventually able to retrieve the ball for Antetokounmpo, Haynes adds.

Wednesday’s game was overall an extremely chippy affair. Haliburton got knocked over by Antetokounmpo in the first half, triggering a review for a flagrant foul. Then in the fourth quarter, Antetokounmpo was hit with a hard foul by Indiana’s Aaron Nesmith, leading to pushing and shoving between both teams.

The Pacers pulled most of their starters around the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter amid a 16-point Bucks lead. But the Bucks kept their guys, including Antetokounmpo, in until the very end of the game, which likely increased the tensions further.

This may be the first-ever case of taking your ball and leaving in the NBA. But Antetokounmpo is no stranger to bizarre postgame dust-ups, especially after Laddergate in Philadelphia last season.

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