Pacers suspend assistant coach Greg Foster, fine Goga Bitadze following heated verbal altercation, per report

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Things aren’t going great for the Indiana Pacers lately, and some of that frustration came to a head Wednesday night in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. Assistant coach Greg Foster and center Goga Bitadze exchanged words in the third quarter which led to teammates needing to diffuse the situation. The Pacers are planning on suspending Foster for a game and fining Bidatze for the altercation, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports, and the two are looking to put the incident behind them and move on.

The altercation came in the third quarter, when the Pacers called a timeout and Foster and Bidatze began shouting at each other as team was walking back toward the bench. Myles Turner — who didn’t play in the game — tried to restrain Foster as he started walking in Bidatze’s direction.

The exchange stemmed from what happened several plays before Foster blew up at Bidatze. While the Kings had the ball, Bidatze allowed Sacramento forward Mo Harkless to throw down an easy dunk without challenging the shot at the rim. Foster immediately jumped up off the bench and started shouting at Bidatze for not defending the shot better. Then on the following Pacers possession, the second-year center nailed a 3-pointer and as he was running back on defense he appeared to shout in Foster’s direction “sit the f— down.”

By the time the Pacers called a timeout, Foster was yelling at Bidatze. Several players stood between the two, and the situation never escalated past that, but it was enough for Indiana to hand down some punishment on both sides. This is just the latest in what’s been a frustrating week for Indiana, which started with reports surfacing of head coach Nate Bjorkgren’s future being in jeopardy with the franchise.

Bjorkgren is in the first year of a deal he signed with the Pacers prior to the season to replace Nate McMillan, who was let go at the end of last season following a first-round sweep in the playoffs. Bjorkgren needs to work on his relationships with key players in the locker room, but has shown a willingness to do so, according to Wojnarowski. The Pacers have had a disappointing season filled with injuries and lackluster performances, resulting in a 30-34 season. Indiana currently sits ninth in the Eastern Conference, and is looking at competing in the play-in tournament for a chance to earn one of the final two spots to make the playoffs. 

Published: 2021-05-06 17:29:24

Tags: #Pacers #suspend #assistant #coach #Greg #Foster #fine #Goga #Bitadze #heated #verbal #altercation #report

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