Though the Nets ended up dropping Game 3 vs Milwaukee, the fact they were even in a position to send things to overtime confirms the Bucks are overmatched. After all, Brooklyn shot an abysmal 36.2% from the floor and an equally-egregious 25% on threes.
Assuming that doesn’t happen again, the Nets should handle business and send the Bucks packing in either five or six games. In fact, fans in Brooklyn are so unbothered by the loss, that the big takeaway from the game had (mostly) nothing to do with basketball.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, Kevin Durant and PJ Tucker met face-to-face and exchanged what we can only assume was a barrage of insults. The two players had to be separated by teammates and officials, but they were assisted by an unwelcome third party.
The individual, Antjuan Lambert, was later identified as Durant’s bodyguard, who, despite likely acting with good intentions, shoved Tucker while trying to defuse the kerfuffle.
There were so many things wrong with Lambert’s impulsive decision to intervene, but making contact with Tucker violated every rule in the book. How did the NBA respond? By merely suspending Lambert for the remainder of the series.
Did the NBA get it right by only suspending Kevin Durant’s bodyguard?
It honestly depends how you look at it.
Some members of the media were calling for Brooklyn to fire Lambert, and understandably so given that he was totally out of line for trying to break up what was nothing more than a confrontation between two players who had been battling it out on both ends of the floor.
We’re not entirely sure why Lambert felt inclined to protect Durant (not once did Tucker look poised to throw a punch) and he’s lucky his actions didn’t exacerbate the situation. After all, it wasn’t revealed until after the game that he was Durant’s bodyguard. Had Tucker acted in self defense thinking it was a belligerent fan, could you really blame him? Probably not.
At the end of the day, Lambert, who’s on the Nets’ payroll, by the way, should be feeling lucky he isn’t out of a job. Per The Athletic, the 35-year-old has been working in the NBA for five years and traveled with Durant from Golden State after he signed with Brooklyn two years ago.
Perhaps that experience and spotless track record convinced the NBA to give him a second chance, but you better believe Lambert will be skating on thin ice from here on out.
Let’s hope Durant had a long conversation with Lambert laying out the scenarios that would require him to storm the court of a playoff game, because a fiery confrontation between two of the game’s premier trash-talkers and competitors certainly doesn’t fit the bill.