Toronto’s Serge Ibaka has a history — he’s been suspended the past two seasons for throwing punches at players.
When he did it again Tuesday night — grabbing Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss by the neck, ramming him into the stanchion, then throwing punches after a few words were exchanged — you knew the league was going to come down hard.
It did — Ibaka has been suspended three games without pay for the incident, meaning his outburst will cost him nearly half a million dollars.
Chriss was suspended for one game. He threw a punch, so by the letter of the NBA rule book that is a suspension, but what exactly was he supposed to do in that situation?
Without Ibaka, Marc Gasol will start at center for the Raptors.
Ibaka was suspended for one game two seasons ago after throwing punches at Robin Lopez. Last season he was suspended for a game for throwing punches at James Johnson. The Chriss incident makes it three seasons in a row. After that hit to the pocketbook, he may pause before making it four.