The players were jockeying for inside positioning, late in the third quarter of Toronto’s 126-101 loss in Cleveland, when Ibaka fell to the floor after a missed pass right and Chriss walked past him and appeared to say something. Ibaka then stood up and grabbed Chriss by the throat to start the exchange. Ibaka and Chriss were tossed immediately.
The NBA’s release cited Ibaka’s previous history of in-game fighting for the lengthier ban:
Ibaka’s suspension was based on his instigation of the physical altercation, throwing a punch at Chriss, and his prior history of fighting during NBA games. Chriss’s suspension was based on throwing a punch at Ibaka.
Ibaka was suspended for an altercation with James Johnson of the Heat last season and in 2017 for a fight with Robin Lopez of the Bulls. Those two suspensions were for a single game.
Serge Ibaka is eligible to return on March 20 for the first game of a home-and-home against the Thunder. The 29-year-old will also miss the games against the Pistons and Knicks.
Raptors Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Lakers
*Notates expected starter
C: Marc Gasol*, Chris Boucher
PF: Pascal Siakam*, Malcolm Miller
SF: Kawhi Leonard*, OG Anunoby, Norman Powell
SG: Danny Green*, Patrick McCaw
PG: Kyle Lowry*, Jeremy Lin
Ibaka’s suspension gives a big opportunity to Marc Gasol, pushing him into the starting lineup for the foreseeable future, beginning with tonight’s home contest against the Lakers.
Gasol is still settling into his new surroundings and he’s shown flashes of the ways he impacts both ends of the floor. The adaptation process has to be sped up because of the increased floor time and responsibility that Gasol will have over the next week.
Marc Gasol averaged 15.7 points in 33.7 minutes over 53 games with the Grizzlies, compared to 8.9 points in 22.8 minutes over 12 games (five starts) with the Raptors.
With Ibaka out, Chris Boucher is also expected to get extended minutes as Gasol’s backup center and Pascal Siakam could see time at center as well.
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by – heavy.com