Five players were ejected Friday night after a fight during the NBA game between the Orlando Magic and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The fight broke out at the end of the third quarter as Austin Rivers of the Timberwolves and Mo Bamba of the Magic began swinging at each other.
Full replay of the the Timberwolves-Magic fight that saw 5 players get ejected, including Austin Rivers and Mo Bamba 😳pic.twitter.com/EETP98kW9X
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 4, 2023
Rivers said after the game that commentary from the Minnesota bench after he missed a three-point attempt instigated the fight.
"I just heard language on their bench, just by one dude -- he had said something the play before, as well," Rivers said.
"I'm not really going to get into what he said, I'm not going to snitch on the dude or whatever. I just didn't like the way he was talking to me, for no reason, too,” he said.
Rivers said there was nothing foreshadowing the incident.
“I don’t even know that dude. I don’t know anything about him. Obviously, I just know he’s a player for the Magic. And he proceeded to talk, so that next possession, when I went down there, I just said, pretty much, ‘Just keep it respectful, bro,’” Rivers said.
“I'm not trying to portray myself as some wannabe tough guy, that's not even my MO, but for anybody who knows me, I'm not going to let somebody disrespect me or talk crazy. I just feel bad that I got thrown out of a game and I feel like I let my team down and in the process, two other guys, important players for our team, got thrown out as well, which makes me feel really bad,” he said.
AUSTIN RIVERS VS. MO BAMBA FIGHT. 👀
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 4, 2023
“When someone gets up like that and gets in your face, you know, it can go one of two ways. He threw a punch and missed and then somebody grabbed me ... by my neck,” he said, referring to Suggs.
Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said the ejections did not fit the crimes.
"Their guy came off the bench and threw a punch. Pretty egregious. Then it's a melee, and somehow our guys get punished a lot worse. One guy got sent for not being a peacekeeper. I just looked at the film, and I didn't see any difference between what their guys were doing and what our guys were doing,” he said, according to ESPN.
Magic-Wolves fight needed the Monday Night Raw theme behind it 😂pic.twitter.com/WdM6E2Nq7Y
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) February 4, 2023
Orlando players said they were protecting their teammate.
"You obviously want to have your teammate's back and at the same time, you've got to be a professional," Orlando center Moritz Wagner said.
"So, that's a challenge for a young team like us. I think this time around we did a good job compared to last time. So, yeah, I don't really know. It's a weird dynamic. You don't really want to be in those situations and it's not really the best look. You want to be professional. At the same time, there is something in me that appreciates the team sticking together like that,” he said.
Magic player Markelle Fultz said Bamba’s comment to Rivers was “normal trash, nothing disrespectful or crazy."
"It was just ... people talking trash when somebody shoots on the side," Fultz said. "We were just having fun, talking [trash]. Same stuff they do on their side. I don't know if it was something that [Rivers] has been dealing with or something, but he got extremely mad, and that's what he chose to do to retaliate. I don't think Mo did anything crazy or said anything crazy."
Orlando won the game, 127-120.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.