The Jazz's John Collins gets into a shoving match with a Bulls assistant coach

SALT LAKE CITY — A skirmish broke out near the end of the Chicago Bulls' win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

The brawl began after Jazz guard Collin Sexton fouled DeMar DeRozan with nine seconds remaining and Utah trailing by one. After the foul, Sexton and injured Bulls forward Torrey Craig began exchanging words in front of the Bulls bench, causing tempers to flare.

Things escalated when Jazz forward John Collins and Bulls assistant coach Chris Fleming got into a brief shoving match. A replay of the video showed Fleming initiated contact with Collins, who then appeared to get to Fleming's throat before he was restrained and separated.

“I ran. I'm standing there. And the coach comes over and pushes me for no reason,” Collins said. “You all can go watch film. And I just protected myself. I'm literally standing there, and the guy puts his forearm on my chest and pushes me back. So I don't know. He needs more self-control. But that's whatever. I don't know what to say about that. “This was strange.”

A technical foul was called on Craig, while Collins and Fleming were whistled for a double technical foul.

Several other players flocked to the incident, along with team security, but it was unclear whether the other players intended to break things up or escalate matters further.

“What it looked like to me was I saw DeMar get fouled,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “I don't know if he was holding his face or holding his face. I think Tori said something. Obviously they came in. I think Chris Fleming was trying to keep everyone away from each other. And from there, it kind of escalated and I was trying to get everyone out. At that point Stage, I just stepped in to break it up a little bit.

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Donovan classified Wednesday's game as a playoff game despite the absence of several major injury contributors.

The Bulls, playing the second game of a four-game road trip, dominated the contest for much of the night. But the Jazz, who lost 12 of their 16 games, refused to go quietly. Every time the Bulls built a double-digit lead, Utah came back strong. After the fight, Jazz goaltender Jordan Clarkson committed a technical foul shot to tie the game at 117-117.

“I'm not looking at it from Utah's position at all,” Donovan said. “I look at it from our position. And we have to be better in those moments, in my opinion. Because we didn't just lose a point to a technical foul. We also iced out the free-throw shooter. I give DeMar a lot of credit for being mentally tough enough.”

“I understand the emotion and the intensity of games. But also at the same point, whether it's whiny or upset or frustrated, it doesn't help anything. And we've got to be able to do better than that along the way. And I'm not just saying the players. On the bench.” “Everyone. We have to be better in those moments.”

DeRozan made two free throws after a long official review to put the Bulls ahead 119-117. Clarkson and Sexton both missed go-ahead 3-pointers in the final eight seconds.

“I was hoping and praying this wasn't the worst outcome as far as getting multiple free throws,” DeRozan said. “Taking the lead, just a turn of the game changed over a simple quarrel. Anything could have happened.”

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This was the second and final meeting between the two teams. Chicago swept the series, beating the Jazz by 17 in Chicago in early November.

However, Collins said it shows Utah State's competitiveness.

“We're not going to give in to anyone,” Collins said. “We'll compete any time we can. And we want to win. There are no losers in this locker room.”

But his confrontation with Fleming was his first.

“I spoke out against some coaches,” Collins said. “But I've never had a coach touch me like that. That was the first.

“A coach touching me is unacceptable.”

(Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

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