MILWAUKEE -- The history of bad blood between the Bucks and the Knicks had a new chapter written in Milwaukee's 112-96 victory on Thursday night when Enes Kanter was ejected in the fourth quarter after receiving two quick technicals.
The problems started when Kanter was elbowed over the eye by Thon Maker while Kanter was trying to get an offensive rebound. On the next trip down the floor, Giannis Antetokounmpo drove to the basket and Kanter hit him in the face with his left hand as he went to swat the ball.
Antetokounmpo, clearly in pain, fell to the floor, and Kanter stared at the prone player as he ran back toward midcourt. No foul was called on the play and Antetokounmpo, clearly upset, ran up the court and went after Kanter.
The two were face-to-face at midcourt when coaches and players started pulling them apart. Kanter said after the game that he was tackled by Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham.
“An assistant coach cannot football attack a player from behind,” Kanter said. “Watch the video.”
Both Kanter and Knicks coach David Fizdale seemed perplexed by the ejection. "They didn’t even call a foul. How did I get ejected?” said Kanter, who received stitches for a cut over his eye.
NBA referee Brian Forte explained to a pool reporter after the game that Kanter and Antetokounmpo each was assessed a dead-ball technical foul. Then, while replaying the altercation, Forte said officials observed “an unsportsmanlike act by Kanter” and assessed him a technical foul for that, too.
Antetokounmpo accused Kanter of foul play after the game. “I do not like when dirty plays happen that risk my health or my teammates’ health,” he said. “I don’t like that.”
Antetokounmpo also had a problem with another Knick on Dec. 1, taking issue with the way Mario Hezonja stepped over him after dunking. He threatened to punch Hezonja in the groin if he ever did it again. Hezonja did not play in either of the games against the Bucks this week.