‣ Giannis Antetokounmpo had a historic 64-point performance against the Pacers, setting a new franchise record. However, a misunderstanding arose when an Indiana assistant coach took the game ball, intending to give it to rookie Oscar Tshiebwe who scored his first NBA points.
‣ The incident led to a heated argument and Giannis running into the opponent’s locker room to retrieve the ball, not for himself but to honor his teammate Damian Lillard who had just passed Kyle Korver to enter the Top 5 all-time three-pointers list.
‣ The situation remained unresolved, with neither side certain about who ended up with the real game ball. Giannis expressed doubts about the ball he received, saying it didn’t feel like the actual game ball. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle assured they have the reserve ball and called the whole situation “unfortunate” and a misunderstanding.
Giannis and Haliburton had heated exchange following Bucks-Pacers 😳
It involved Pacers taking game ball away after Giannis' 64-point game
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport)
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a night to remember. His 64-point performance against the Pacers was one for the history books. But, he didn’t get to take the game ball home. Instead, an Indiana assistant coach snagged it for rookie Oscar Tshiebwe, who’d just scored his first NBA points.
This didn’t sit well with Giannis. The Bucks had just beaten the Pacers 140-126 on Wednesday night. And then, in a burst of fury, he stormed into the opponent’s locker room. He was on a mission to retrieve the game ball.
But here’s the twist. Giannis didn’t want the ball for himself. He wanted to honor his teammate Damian Lillard. Lillard had just surpassed Kyle Korver on the Top 5 all-time three-pointers list. You can check out the video below to see the heated exchange for yourself.
Giannis tried to explain his side after the game. “I understand. When you score your first point in the NBA, you want to have the ball,” he told reporters. But he felt that Lillard’s achievement was more significant. “In my opinion, we should all stop what we’re doing and appreciate greatness,” he added.
The game ball’s final resting place remains a mystery. Giannis doesn’t think he got the real one. Indiana coach Rick Carlisle insists they have the reserve ball. “I have no idea. I’m not going to lie,” Giannis confessed. “I really don’t know. I have a ball, but I don’t know if it’s the game ball.”
Giannis had a phenomenal game, no doubt. He scored 64 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, and stole the ball 4 times. He now holds the franchise record for most points scored in a single game, a record previously held by Michael Redd with 57 points.
Coach Rick Carlisle called the whole situation “unfortunate”. He explained it from Indiana’s perspective during the postgame interview. He called it a “misunderstanding” and a “huge misunderstanding” at that. The Pacers weren’t thinking about Giannis’ record. They just wanted to commemorate Tshiebwe’s first NBA point.
Carlisle also pointed out an interesting fact. There were two game balls. So, all the fuss was unnecessary. “We don’t need the official game ball. There are two game balls there. We could have taken the other one. It didn’t need to escalate to that,” he said.