A sleepy mid-March game in Los Angeles turned into a chaotic scene at STAPLES Center when the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks had what would best be described as a heated scuffle. Greg Monroe, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell were all ejected for the incident, and Lakers head coach Luke Walton was livid after the game.
Walton delivered a scathing post-game press conference, criticizing the officiating and calling out Bucks personnel that interfered with the altercation. Luke went full “Hit ‘em Up” after the game.
“I'm gonna need an explanation on it because it made no sense to me,” a fuming Walton said when asked for his thoughts on how the situation was handled.
The sequence went down like this. D’Angelo tipped a pass to force a turnover out of a Bucks out of bounds play. Brandon Ingram collected the deflected pass, pushed it up court and dumped it off to Young.
Malcolm Brogdon went up to challenge the shot and foul Young to prevent an easy transition bucket, and Young immediately responded by shoving Brogdon. Things escalated from there.
“When I watched the tape... to tell me that we end up getting more penalized for what happened than they do? If I saw it live, I would've had a lot more to say about it,” Luke said.
Here’s full footage of the full tussle:
That was Young’s second technical of the game, but he was gone for that even if it was his first. The Brogdon foul wasn’t the worst, but frustrations bubbled and it’s not the first time Nick’s gotten into a situation like this. See: The Suns Incident. His response definitely triggered a situation that didn’t need to be all of this, though.
But it happened, and Walton gave Russell his full support for getting involved to defend his teammate.
“They told me that D'Angelo got kicked out for escalating the situation, but D'Angelo only responded after Monroe grabbed Nick by the neck and thrown him,” Walton said.
”So if D'Angelo didn't push him, I would've been pissed off at D'Angelo. He did the right thing. For the NBA to say that the two of them did the same thing and just cancel each other out is absolute crap to me.”
To be fair, D’Angelo pushing Monroe was akin to a kitten attempting to tip a cow in comparison to how hard Young was bucked by the Bucks’ big man. Monroe also put his hand on Ingram’s face — Luke using the word “slapped” after the game to describe it is a bit of an exaggeration — when the Lakers’ rookie swingman moved in to get involved:
“I don't know if he was mad that Zubac was kicking his butt up night long out there,” Walton quipped. ”So he did all that, and he got the same penalty as what D'Angelo did for just shoving someone in the back.”
But Luke’s response didn’t stop there. He watched the film of the incident after the game and noticed something else that seemed strange to those watching closely.
“Watching the tape, one of their employees is on the floor and he grabs Brandon by the jersey and shoves him. Not holding him back — shoves him. And that doesn't get addressed either,” Walton said.
“And if there's nothing wrong with that, then I have no problem finding some people to hire on our staff so next time we get in skirmish I'll keep all my players back.”
Walton seemed most incredulous over the Bucks staff members’ involvement, and perhaps that’s rightfully so. He reiterated how pissed he was over Ingram being handled by someone on the Bucks’ staff.
“The fact that they don't get in trouble for that, the refs don't say anything about that, and he puts his hands on one of our players – he works for them – he can touch their players all he wants, don't touch my damn players.”
“Because if that's OK, I'm sure we can find a couple people in LA want that job working for the Lakers too. So that's... that's not right.”
What was right to Walton, though, was how the team on the floor handled the situation as a group.
“We should have each others back because we should be a tight family with all that we go through together. So I was very proud of the group that was out there, not for fighting but for sticking up for each other.”
*Quotes obtained first-hand via our very own Harrison Faigen.