Antetokounmpo, Harel was involved in a post-match altercation

Philadelphia – stolen basketballs. Crash ramps. Simple refusal and the threat of violence.

Such was the scene that dominated Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, which unfolded after the 76ers defeated the Bucks 110-102.

Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo attempted extra foul shots after a terrible game that ran him down the goal line. Sixers backup center Montrezl Harrell and member of the coaching staff, Jordan Love, returned to the field, and Harrell took the ball from Giannis and refused to return it.

Harel stood in the corner, shaking his head and holding the ball as he pleaded with Antitekounmo.

“That ain’t f—— Milwaukee,” Harrell barked at Antetokounmpo, as he testified the athlete. “Get this out over there.”

As if a player on the bench taking the ball from the best player twice, after the game, and yelling at him wasn’t weird enough, the situation just got weirder. Love stood between Giannis and Harrell and told Antetokounmpo that he could not have a ball to shoot, and he was not allowed to shoot on the ground after the match.

So he left Antetokounmpo, who shot 4-of-15 from the line during the game, for the worst shooting performance of his career, returning with two basketballs.

Just when he returned, a Wells Fargo Center employee pushed a large A-frame ladder in front of the hoop where Giannis was shooting. Antetokounmpo asked the man to move the ladder so he could finish shooting, and the man twice said no.

Now angry at the sudden circumstances he was in, Giannis tried to move the ladder out of the way and ended up hitting him. The ringside employee was distracted when the ladder crashed into the court.

A video of the ladder incident was posted to Twitter by a Philadelphia fan in the arena.

“I never try to disrespect anyone, in any way shape or form,” Antetokounmo said an hour after the incident. “I feel like today was just an unfortunate event that happened. I think people didn’t respect the fact that sometimes players want to take extra work. I think it’s unprofessional to kick someone off the field or take the ball or whatever the case is. Or put the ladder in front of Someone while trying to do their job. We get paid to do it. They didn’t just pick us. We get paid.”

there is more. Antetokounmpo, now visibly demoralized, continued his work at one end of the ground, while Harrell fired at the other.

“Yeah, I took the ball,” Harrell said, as Giannis yelled on his end. “Bring the ball over here.”

After Antetokounmpo left the court for good, his brother, fellow Milwaukee player Thanasis Antetokounmpo, walked to middle court to talk to Harrell. The Sixers backup center threatened Thanasis, saying at separate times “I’m going to beat you” and “You’d better send that — to the locker room.” Thanasis got away without incident.

The Sixers declined to comment, but a league source said that arena workers promptly remove video equipment from the top two backboards after every game. Philadelphia hosts Minnesota at Wells Fargo on Saturday.

Harrell’s problem appears to be that the opposing player, in this case Giannis, should not try to get extra shots for the visiting team after the game. But there is no rule, written or unwritten, against it, and players from both teams who struggle with shooting, or haven’t been able to play much, sometimes return to the ground after the game for a little overtime.

Giannis was still angry when he returned to the locker room as he recounted the incident to his teammates, who shook their heads in disbelief. The atmosphere inside was tense and calm, except for Giannis’ voice explaining and re-explaining what had happened.

Then someone repeatedly turned off the lights in the room while the players were trying to finish getting dressed, which annoyed them even more.

It turned out that the culprit was Giannis’ two-year-old son, Liam Antitekounmo.

Antetokounmpo finished the game with 25 points and 14 rebounds. He’s actually in the midst of the worst two-game stretch of his career on a foul streak. In Wednesday’s win over Cleveland, Giannis shot 4 of 11.

“It’s funny to me because I have a basketball court at my house and my kids always go and shoot, and when it gets to 9pm I go and take the ball out of their hands,” said Antetokounmo. “I feel like we’re more mature than that. We’re professional athletes trying to do our job. You can go ask (Harrell). I offered him to shoot, let’s shoot together. In the meantime, I don’t get it because there’s a basket behind me. There was another basket.” And he chose to come get my ball, have his coach stand in front of me, and kind of bullied him off the court and into the other basket.

“I’m not going to try to fight someone. I have kids now, I have to save my money. But now, if you guys see that’s disrespectful, that’s on you.”

Antetokounmpo shoots a career-worst . 587 from the foul streak this season, but his 8-of-26 in the two-game stretch can certainly skew the numbers early in the schedule. In the two games leading up to his last dirty shot, he was 11-of-18 and 7-of-8 on free throws.

“I don’t make it that simple,” Giannis said. “I don’t think there is no problem. The ball won’t go in.”

the athlete‘s Writer Eric Nehm contributed to this story.

(Photo: Eric Hartline/USA Today)


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