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Love something like Serge Ibaka loves swinging on NBA players

We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Serge Ibaka exudes a calm demeanor and enjoins a lot of respect around the league. He also loves fighting other NBA players on seemingly trivial premises.

He was at it again on Monday night, swinging on Marquese Chriss during the Raptors’ loss to the Cavaliers.

This is at least Ibaka’s third legit fight in the NBA after he (unwisely but bravely) swung on noted MMA fighter James Johnson last season and retaliated against Robin Lopez two years ago. To exhibit his well-rounded career, he also has a notable FIBA fight against Luis Scola, though that was more of a gratuitous elbow to brush Scola back than a face-up fight.


Ibaka ended up receiving a three-game suspension, with Chriss getting one game given that his apparent instigation was simply verbal.

Brandon Ingram received a four-game suspension early this season after shoving James Harden and swinging on Chris Paul. That was more of a group scuffle, though, and as noted Ibaka has a history of being involved in fisticuffs.

That said, Ibaka’s previous two NBA fights only resulted in one-game suspensions. Adam Silver isn’t really into punishing fighters all that much. (Was he on sabbatical during Malice at the Palace or something?) Gven the one-sided nature of the physical aggression here, five games was the upper bound of what Ibaka faced. In the end, he got three games.

Not that it matters: the Raptors will almost positively be the No. 2 seed in the East. All the team is working on now is fine-tuning for the playoffs, which is frankly probably a little tricky when Kawhi Leonard is being rested for load management once a week anyway.


Raptors 101, Cavaliers 126
Kings 115, Wizards 121
Pistons 75, Nets 103
Hornets 106, Rockets 118
Thunder 98, Jazz 89
Celtics 115, Clippers 140


All times Eastern. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.

Knicks at Pacers, 7
Cavaliers at Sixers, 7
Lakers at Bulls, 8
Bucks at Pelicans, 8
Spurs at Mavericks, 8, TNT
Timberwolves at Nuggets, 10:30, TNT
Blazers at Clippers, 10:30


Ricky O’Donnell explains the greatness of Ja Morant.

Look, the proverbial knives are fully exposed in LA as everyone knows Luke Walton will get replaced and there will be massive Lakers’ roster changes this summer come hell or high water. Some of this stuff is a bit silly.

What’s up with Steph Curry? Also, what’s up with Klay Thompson calling out Warriors fans? If the Warriors themselves can act like they’d rather be anywhere else during games, why can’t the paying customers?

Steve Kerr got caught saying “I’m so f---ing tired of Draymond” on national TV so he tried to joke his way out of it with the media. Ha, ha — nope not working. We see all of this adding up, brother. Here’s the thing: we know Kevin Durant is probably out this summer. Aren’t Kerr and Green both coming back, though? Are they? ARE THEY?

Russell Westbrook and a Jazz fan had a verbal altercation Monday night that will quite possibly result in a fine and maybe an arena ban. Yikes all around.

Kyrie Irving has moved from the martyr phase to the apologetic phase of his weird anti-media cycle. This dude’s mood shifts have me rotating like the Ear ... uh, like something that is round and spins on an axis.

Kevin O’Connor on the many styles of Most Improved Player. I’m still mad about Monta Ellis over Kevin Martin, in case you’re wondering.

Make the Knicks pay property taxes.

Ben Cohen asks if the NBA is too online. We all are, buddy. We all are.

Be excellent to each other.