Players from the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings were involved in a heated verbal exchange in the tunnel Wednesday night after a game that saw Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd ejected late in the fourth quarter.
The players' confrontation followed an O.J. Mayo challenge to the Kings' bench near the end of the Bucks' 129-118 loss for a sidelined DeMarcus Cousins to join him in the hallway, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, citing sources.
Kidd was ejected with 1:49 left after he slapped the ball out of a referee's hand. Kidd had to be restrained by Mayo and an assistant coach before being escorted to the locker room.
The tension continued after the game and spilled into the BMO Harris Bradley Center's tunnel and hallway as both teams exchanged heated words. Several police officers were positioned in the area a short time later.
Kidd said he wasn't certain what happened in the postgame flare-up.
"I was having a Coke and some popcorn, so I don't know," Kidd said. "I was sent in early."
Kidd said he was sticking up for himself and protecting his players before he was tossed.
"I walked all the way down to get a timeout," Kidd said, "and then we had our discussion. He gave me the T.
"From there, I'm trying to protect my guys. Understanding we felt we were getting fouled and the whistle wasn't being blown. What happens in this league, you have to stand up for yourself, and my job is to protect those young guys.
"But that wasn't the issue of the game. We gave them warm-up jump shots. They got our temperature, saw we didn't want to play defense and they took advantage of it. That's as easy as it is."
As a result of the players' skirmish, several Bucks players accompanied Mayo to his car in the players' parking lot, the Milwaukee newspaper reported.
Bucks guard Jerryd Bayless, who reportedly was involved in the postgame hallway exchange, would not say whether he was involved in the jawing with Cousins.
"I don't know," Bayless said. "I wasn't really paying any attention."
Bayless chalked it up to the heat of competition.
"It happens. You move on,'' Bayless said.
The Kings won despite being without Cousins, their scoring and rebounding leader, who sat out because of a strained lower back. They had lost all five previous games that Cousins missed this season.
Bucks forward John Henson denied knowing what led to the postgame confrontation.
"I was just trying to help my teammate get off the court,'' Henson said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.