The NBA’s regular season doesn’t begin for a few more weeks, but teams are already scrimmaging. In their first preseason game the Wizards and Bulls, carried on a budding rivalry that began in last year’s playoffs.
Early in the first quarter, Paul Pierce gave the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler a hard foul across the neck on a fastbreak. As the referees reviewed it to see if it was a flagrant foul, Pierce continued jawing it at Butler, who remained calm.
Bulls center Joakim Noah came over and gave Pierce a little shove, telling him to back off. Pierce stepped up again, and Noah gave another shove, to which Pierce responded by poking Noah in the face. The move set off Noah who charged after Pierce before the referees and teammates separated the two players.
Watch the scuffle below (the foul occurs at about the :07 mark, the confrontation begins at about the 1:20 mark).
Neither player faced any further punishment, so they likely won’t receive anything in the aftermath, either. However, if this wasn’t just preseason, the NBA might have taken further action. Pierce’s original foul probably would have been called a flagrant (he made no attempt at the ball).
Later in the game, the Wizards’ Kevin Seraphin set a hard screen on Butler, knocking him over and getting charged with the foul. Once again, there was a brief confrontation before it was broken up.
The two were seperated when Butler jumped to his feet to get in Seraphin’s face.
This isn’t the first time the two teams have gotten into it. In last year’s playoffs, Butler and the Wizards’ Nene had to be seperated, although it didn’t result in any major punishment for either player.
Both the Wizards and Bulls figure to be playoff teams in the East this year, and their budding rivalry should be one to watch.
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