This weekend was full of a lot of exciting basketball, as well as an attempted boxing match. Two NBA players were fined $25,000 each for getting involved in a fight, and they will now have a lot less money in their pockets. The fight took place during Game 5 of the first-round series between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and both players were ejected from the game, as well.
Tempers Flare In Thunder-Rockets Fight
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schröder and Houston Rockets center PJ Tucker went at each other this past Saturday before refs stepped in to break the fight up. The NBA later announced that Schroder was fined $25,000 for making physical contact to the groin area of Tucker. Likewise, Tucker was fined the same amount of money for getting close to Schroder and having contact with him for the sake of escalating the fight.
The fines were announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. Fortunately, the altercation didn’t escalate into something worse; it was stopped almost as quickly as it started, but not before the league felt enough damage had been done to warrant the massive fines.
Flare Up In The Bubble
The League Office reviewed the incident, and they concluded that Tucker’s contact with Schröder did not end up in a headbutt, as some had initially thought. The fight, for which Schröder was hit with a Flagrant Foul 2 and Tucker a technical foul and both were kicked out of the game, took place with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter of the Rockets’ 114-80 win over the Thunder on Saturday at The Field House in the NBA Bubble at Disney World.
On Sunday, during his media session, Schröder said that the situation was unfortunate, and he didn’t agree with the fine he was given. He added, “I’ve seen the video I went between his legs, it’s unfortunate I went between his legs, but for me, it’s not on purpose… It shouldn’t be a flagrant two.”
Schröder also said that he and Tucker have been on good terms since their days in the Basketball Bundesliga, Germany’s professional basketball organization. He stated, “We’ve been on each other since 2012 when we played in Germany together… It’s never that we’re competitors; we try and go out there and compete as hard as we can… But, me myself, my family didn’t raise me that way to hurt somebody intentionally.”
There is no ongoing rivalry between the two players; it was only a human mistake. Billy Donovan, the head coach of the Thunder, said, “No, I just think it’s competitive basketball, and you’re going to have situations like that periodically… I think P.J. Tucker’s a hard-playing guy… I think Dennis Schröder’s a hard-playing guy.”
A Big Misunderstanding
The fight took place in the third quarter of Game 5 between the Thunder and Rockets, when Tucker intended to set a screen on Schröder, who then struck Tucker below the belt as he tried to advance through the screen. Because of this, both players fell to the ground, and Tucker stood up right away and came close to having contact with Schröder’s face. At that moment, both guys were ejected from the game.
However, it looks like Schröder did not have any real intention to get into a fight. He didn’t realize it when he hit Tucker unintentionally and caused both to fall to the floor. Then, Tucker comes close to having contact with Schröder’s, but he had not realized Tucker was upset at him.
The good news here are that none of them will be suspended for a pivotal Game 6 for which both are immensely required. The league might have been somewhat lenient this time, given the fact that it’s the playoffs. The Rockets have a 3-2 lead in the series, and they are seeking to close things out on Monday. The Thunder, however, are expecting to take the series to a seventh game.