On Friday, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers and Orlando Magic centre Mo Bamba were at the centre of a brawl that ejected five players.
The incident occurred with 1:32 remaining in the third quarter, with the Magic leading 83-73. Rivers appeared to approach the Magic bench to speak with Bamba, who was not registered for the game and was dressed in a warm-up shirt over his uniform. The Orlando convention centre objected.
As the fight spilled onto the court from the sidelines, Rivers and Bamba traded swings. Jalen Suggs of the Orlando Magic then threw Rivers to the ground. Rivers and Bamba wrestled on the floor as staff and teammates attempted to separate them.
Rivers missed a corner 3-point shot by the Magic’s bench prior to the fight, and words appeared to be exchanged.
“I just heard language on their bench from one dude – he said something the play before, too,” Rivers said after the game. “I’m not going to get into what he said, and I’m not going to snitch on him or anything. I just didn’t like the way he was speaking to me for no apparent reason. I don’t even know that guy, I don’t know anything about him, I just know he’s a Magic player.
“He continued to speak, so the next time I went down there, I just said, “Just keep it respectful, bro.” I’m not trying to portray myself as some want tobe tough guy; that’s not even my style, but anyone who knows me knows that I’m not going to let anyone disrespect me or talk nonsense.
“I just feel bad that I was thrown out of a game and that I let my team down, and in the process, two other guys, important players for our team, were also thrown out, which makes me feel really bad.”
“The play is being reviewed for a hostile altercation,” the referees announced immediately.
The Timberwolves fired Rivers, Jared McDaniels, and Taurean Prince. On the Magic side, Bamba and Suggs were ejected.
As the game went on without him, Bamba posted a viral “(expletive) around, find out” meme on his Instagram Story.
This is the second NBA fight to take place in two nights. Donovan Mitchell of the Cavaliers and Dillon Brooks of the Grizzlies were both ejected after a fight on Thursday. Brooks was suspended without pay for one game for striking Mitchell in the groyne, and Mitchell was fined $20,000 for escalating the incident with pushing and shoving.