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Enes Kanter is never one to back down nor hide his feelings, so when the New York Knicks big man was asked about what went down between him and Giannis Antetokounmpo on Thursday night, he didn’t hold back.
“He’s the golden boy,” Kanter said, according to ESPN.
In the fourth quarter of a game at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Kanter knocked Antetokounmpo to the floor on a drive to the bucket. No foul was called on the play.
After getting up, Antetokounmpo ran down the floor and got in Kanter’s face, resulting in both players being slapped with technical fouls. After a replay review, Kanter was hit with a second T and he was ejected with 9:56 to play.
Earlier, Kanter was hit near his eye by an elbow from Milwaukee’s Thon Maker, a gash that eventually needed three stitches to close.
“Obviously, he’s the golden child, and they gave me two technicals,” Kanter said of Antetokounmpo. “OK. Whatever. I’m going to leave the management to take care of all that stuff.”
Kanter said after the game he was not aware he had been ejected, only going to the locker room to receive stitches.
“I shot the ball and I was trying to go get the rebound, offensive rebound,” Kanter said. “I think Thon Maker’s elbow just glanced against my eye and it started bleeding. And then on the other side I think Giannis was driving the basket and I stopped him. They didn’t even call a foul. And then we just got into it a little bit. And then my eye was bleeding and they said, ‘you need stitches.’ So I went in the back and the doctor just give me three stitches. Now you guys are telling me I got ejected.”
This was not the first incident involving Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. After a 136-134 overtime Knicks win Dec. 1, he said he would punch Mario Hezonja of the Knicks in the groin after Hezonja dunked over Antetokounmpo, then stared at him and stepped over him in a game at Madison Square Garden.
“I was very pissed because what kind of player are you … did he not get any PR lesson?” Kanter said of Antetokounmpo’s vow in regard to Hezonja. “You cannot say to the media, ‘I’m going to punch somebody in the whatever.’
“If you’re the best player in the world or the worst player in the world, you cannot be talking about my teammate like that. It’s very childish of him. He’s an MVP candidate. He’s a cool dude and carrying that franchise, but you can’t be talking about my teammates like that.”
On top of that, Kanter feels Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham should receive discipline for getting between him and Antetokounmpo during their dustup Thursday night.
Ham appeared to push Kanter away from Antetokounmpo as they stood face-to-face.
“[Ham] should get fined,” Kanter told reporters Friday. “The NBA should fine him. He’s not my assistant coach, so he’s not allowed to touch me. You’re a Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach, so you’re allowed to touch the Bucks players. Not me. He cannot be touching me.
“I could’ve just pushed him back and started another fight, but I don’t think the NBA wants that. He’s not my assistant coach. He’s not my friend. He’s not nobody.”
The Knicks and Bucks, who had played just two nights previous to the incident Thursday night, do not play again this season.
Milwaukee won the season series, 3-1, the third straight season series win against New York. The Bucks have won eight of the last nine against the Knicks, including five straight at home.