Russell Westbrook shoves Kris Dunn, who shoves back. Jerami Grant gets involved which leads to Robin Lopez becoming very angry. (1:26)
NEW YORK — Oklahoma City Thunder guards Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder were suspended for one game without pay Wednesday for leaving the bench area during an altercation and participating in the melee that spilled over into the stands.
Chicago center Robin Lopez was fined $25,000, and Thunder forward Jerami Grant was fined $20,000, both for escalating the altercation in Oklahoma City’s 121-96 home victory Monday night. Bulls guard Kris Dunn was fined $15,000 for instigating the altercation by shoving Thunder star Russell Westbrook.
Felton and Schroder will sit out the Thunder’s game Wednesday night at Sacramento. The suspensions will cost Schroder $182,353 and Felton $29,194.
A heated squabble between the Thunder and visiting Bulls spilled into the front row of courtside seats in the third quarter before being broken up in time to quell any serious conflict.
The incident started in the third quarter, when Westbrook and Dunn traded contact, and Dunn followed with a shove. Grant then ran over and confronted Dunn, and Lopez and fellow Bulls big man Bobby Portis arrived to interject. Lopez then lightly head-butted Grant as they spilled into the first row of courtside seats, and Grant pulled Lopez down on top of some fans.
Bulls coach Jim Boylen ran across the court, grabbed Grant around the neck and pulled him away. Thunder assistant coach Dave Bliss stepped in front of Lopez and separated him from the scuffle as Lopez struggled to gain ground while pointing his finger and unleashing a scowl toward Grant and Steven Adams.
It was an unusual scene with the potential to escalate into a bad situation, as Lopez was highly agitated and aggressively going after Grant, all while standing right in front of the first row of fans.
“It felt like I got twisted and flipped a little by someone by that bench there,” Lopez said. “I don’t know. After that, something happened.”
There were two technicals assessed to each side after the tussle — to Westbrook, Grant, Dunn and Lopez.
“Man,” Westbrook said when asked if he was surprised to receive a technical. “Next question.”
Boylen, who recently took over for Fred Hoiberg and made headlines with his practice approach and objective to reset the Bulls’ culture, said he liked to see his team not back down.
“That’s all we’ve been talking about is fighting for each other, and we talk about being a pack of wolves, man,” Boylen said. “I thought we had some of that. I liked the look in our guys’ eyes when that happened. It bonded them a little bit. That’s what we’ve been talking about. Those things are going to come up again, it happens in the league. I think we’ll be ready for it next time to handle it even better.”
Lopez eventually was ejected a few minutes later after being called for a foul and picking up his second technical for rolling the ball at Grant, who had been knocked down.
“He needed the ball to shoot the free throws,” Lopez said. “I thought the refs had done enough, and I wanted to alleviate some of their work. They had an abnormally large workload for the first half of that quarter, and I wanted to help them out, ease their pain a little bit, ease their burden. And I guess not everyone saw it the same way.”
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN’s Royce Young was used in this report.