Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash claimed Giannis Antetokounmpo's forearm struck Patty Mills' throat leading to his furious reaction and first-ever ejection from Wednesday's 110-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nash was thrown out of the game with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter with the Nets up 70-66 after a non-call from the officials when Antetokounmpo drove forward on Mills who was floored.
The Nets coach was incensed by the non-call and yelled at the officials leading to a technical foul from Josh Tiven. That only further irritated Nash who had to be restrained by assistant coaches and players as he argued with the officials, leading to his ejection.
"I was just standing up for our guys," Nash told reporters. "I thought Patty took a forearm in the throat from Giannis right in front of the ref.
"I didn’t think that was fair. I don’t think I was overly demonstrative. I was upset that I got a technical."
When asked why Nash got given the technical, he added: "There wasn’t an explanation, it's a lot going on out there. What happened", happened. I said my piece on the court. That's really all there is."
Kevin Durant, who scored 33 points with six rebounds and two blocks, offered his support to Nash.
"You've got to handle yourself differently as a coach but sometimes you just want to go out there and fight for your guys and that’s what I thought he did tonight," Durant told reporters.
Meanwhile, Ben Simmons struggled again with four points on two-of-seven field shooting with none-of-two from the free-throw line, along with four personal fouls. Simmons has nine field goals and 18 personal fouls in four games this season.
Nets teammate Kyrie Irving was overheard at one point in the game demanding Simmons take a shot. Irving would not be drawn into discussing his under-fire teammate's form.
"If we're going to come in and be honest as a team, I'm not going to come in and be critical of what Ben's done right or done wrong every single night," Irving said. "He's a basketball player, he's a professional, he has the skills to be a great professional, he's done it in the past and he hasn't played in two years.
"You guys keep coming here and asking me like 'what about Ben, what about Ben?' he hasn’t played in two years, give him a f***** chance, stay on him. We're here just to give him positive affirmation while he's out there."
The result moved the Nets to 1-3, while the Bucks are 3-0, with Antetokounmpo in dominant form with 43 points, backing up 44 against the Houston Rockets on Saturday for the most productive two-game span in his 10-year NBA career. The Greek forward scored 34 of his 43 points in the second half.
Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said: "That's vintage Giannis. That's probably about the best. He's had a lot of great performances. That second half he did everything, he was phenomenal… It's hard to put the right words on how good he was in the second half."