Fans excited about potential rivalry after Giannis game ball dispute

NOW: Fans excited about potential rivalry after Giannis game ball dispute

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After a record-breaking night for the Milwaukee Bucks, fans react to the back and forth after the home team won.

"To be honest with you, I'm almost looking more forward to those games (against Indiana) than the Boston games or Philly games," Bucks fan Pete Christiansen said.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Indiana Pacers 140 to 126. Giannis Antetokounmpo got a career-high 64 points, breaking the franchise record, while Damian Lillard secured a spot in fifth place on the list of all-time 3-points made in the league.

"Obviously I'm extremely happy. I'm happy we were able to get a win," Antetokounmpo said in a post-game interview.

Fans of Antetokounmpo were happy to witness him make history.

"Another accomplishment for an already accomplished career. Hopefully, the next stop is the championship," Bucks fan Nic Waldron said.

With both players making history, Antetokounmpo searched for the game ball after the final buzzer, sprinting toward the Pacers locker room looking for it, followed by some of his teammates.

“Man wanted that ball. I’m following my team, helping my teammate out," Bucks point guard Cameron Payne, who followed behind Antetokounmpo, said.

The incident, as described by Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, was heated.

"I don't think any punches were landed, but my general manager got elbowed in the ribs by one of their players," Carlisle said. "He certainly has bruised ribs, and who knows if it's anything more than that."

Carlisle explained that the Pacers wanted the ball given to rookie Oscar Tshiebwe, who scored his first official NBA point against Milwaukee.

"We were not thinking about Giannis' franchise record," Carlisle said.

Video shows the game ball going to a Bucks staff member at the end of the game, but Antetokounmpo told reporters he is skeptical the ball he now has is the one he played with that night.

"I have a ball, but I don't know if it's the game ball. It doesn't feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand-new ball. I can tell. I've played 35 minutes today. I know how the game ball felt. The ball that I have, which I'll take and give to my mom for sure, but I don't know if it's actually the game ball," he said.

Antetokounmpo was adamant that Indiana took the ball.

"I knew they had the game ball. I didn't think they had the game ball, I knew they had the ball. I don't know how it works, but I assume I cannot just walk into any arena I play in and just take the ball," he explained.

Some fans told CBS 58 they thought it was clear that the ball belonged to Milwaukee.

"Arguably a top 10, top 5 NBA player of all time, and you're going to take his career-high game ball? You can't tell me that wasn't intentional," Waldron said.

Another said the incident shows Antetokounmpo's passion and that a new rivalry could be brewing.

"I thought Giannis was fighting for the team, not just for him. Whether mom winds up with the ball in the end, moms should get the ball, right?" Christiansen said.

The Bucks and the Pacers will face off again Jan. 1 and 3.

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