NBA punishes Kevin Durant’s Bodyguard for Shoving P.J. Tucker: Report

PJ Tucker

Getty Milwaukee's P.J. Tucker is held back by teammate Khris Middleton during an altercation with Brooklyn's Kevin Durant in the second half of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference second-round playoff series at the Fiserv Forum on June 10, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Nets finally showed cracks in their armor Thursday night, falling to the Bucks 86-83 in Game 3 of their second-round series. But on a night that featured both teams being woefully inefficient from the field, something else stole the headlines.

By Saturday, the full fallout of the incident was still coming to light.

Punishment Handed Down to Kevin Durant’s Reported Bodyguard

Nets star Kevin Durant and Milwaukee’s P.J. Tucker, a pair of former Texas Longhorns, got into a heated exchange in the third quarter of Thursday’s game when Durant was fouled by Tucker.

Things escalated from there, with the two getting in each other’s faces before they were quickly separated by a swarm that included players, coaches and even some security personnel.

Durant and Tucker each earned technical fouls.

One of the security personnel in the middle of the scuffle shoved Tucker, drawing the Bucks forward’s attention before the situation deescalated. That security guard is 35-year-old Antjuan Lambert, a Nets security official, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. According to Vardon’s report, Lambert also is Durant’s bodyguard whom the Nets hired at Durant’s request. Vardon wrote that Lambert had previously worked for Durant personally, adding “it is common in the NBA for teams to hire the personal security of their stars — and has been for decades — but it is uncommon for those guards to make contact with an opposing team’s player.”

Per The New York Times, the NBA on Saturday released a statement that stated that the security official who made contact with Tucker will not work any remaining games of the Nets-Bucks series in Milwaukee and will not be assigned to the court area in Brooklyn during this series,

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Bucks React to Tucker Being Shoved

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer made his way onto the court during the scuffle, and, initially, was just as confused as everyone else about who it was that shoved Tucker. Budenholzer elaborated more on what he saw during the incident, via The Athletic:

To be completely frank and honest, in the heat of the moment, I have no idea who that guy is with or who he is affiliated with. It could be Fiserv Forum security, could be Bucks security, could be Nets security. I know enough to — I guess it sorted out — that it was Nets security, and in the heat of the moment you know that people are coming to try to de-escalate things and try to get things under control and not bump and escalate and have things become a bigger problem than what we’re trying to address, or de-escalate.

And in the 24, 48 hours since, if it’s a Nets security guy and he’s bumping our player, it just doesn’t seem like that’s the protocol, and that’s what we would expect from any type of security, whether it be Bucks or Nets or Fiserv or Barclays Center or wherever you might be playing.

Meanwhile, Bucks forward Bobby Portis was taken aback by the whole incident.

“It’s kind of crazy that he just attacked P.J. and pushed him specifically,” Portis said, via The Athletic. “Most of the time, team security comes in and gets in between everybody, so (he) probably did cross the boundaries with that.”

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