Tobias Harris had a night to remember on Wednesday, matching a career-high with 30 points and setting a new career-high with 19 rebounds as he helped his Orlando Magic pull off a 113-103 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime. That'd be a special performance against any team, but the Bucks are the team that drafted Harris, and the one that ultimately traded him to Orlando after less than two seasons.
With six seconds to play in overtime and the Magic up by eight, Harris grabbed a defensive rebound, pushed the ball up the floor, and threw down a tomahawk slam, capping Orlando's victory. After the dunk, he pounded his chest with his right fist. Some players on Milwaukee's bench took exception to Harris' showmanship.
After the game, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn was asked about his team's "ability to get off the mat" and close out the win. Vaughn opened his response by saying, "Well, I almost put Tobias on the mat after that last layup of his."
Another reporter asked Vaughn if he really was upset about Harris' decision to dunk in that situation, rather than dribbling the clock out. "Yeah," he said, "I think I'm old fashioned a little bit. I understand the moment and how hard he played to help us get to that position. It stares you in the face that he played for that team. But at the same time, I totally believe... there's a respect for the game."
Harris told his side of the story. "[W]hen I got the rebound, I thought they were trying to foul, I was trying to push it out, and I didn't see nobody behind me," he said. "So I decided, you know, 'I'm wide open, I'm gonna battle until the game is over.' I just wanted them to know [there was] no way they could come back in this game."
He offered his apologies to the Bucks organization and its players, saying he has "all the respect in the world" for Milwaukee. He also said the play "wasn't personal at all."
"If anybody thought that was disrespectful, that's not the type of player that I am," Harris said. "You live and you learn from it. In the future, I wouldn't have done that, after having that experience and knowing the consequences of it."