Five ejected in clash between Timberwolves and Magic as Rivers and Bamba throw punches
A fight broke out between Austin Rivers and Mo Bamba during Friday's game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic, resulting in five ejections.
The situation occurred late in the third quarter as Rivers took exception to some words from the Magic bench, and while the play continued, Rivers stayed down the other end of the court jawing with Bamba before punches started to fly.
It appeared Rivers and Bamba were the only players to throw punches, before Magic guard Jalen Suggs was also ejected for pulling Rivers to the ground, while the Timberwolves' Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince were also given their marching orders for getting too involved.
The Magic went on to win the game 127-120 away from home in a well-balanced performance, with 10 players scoring at least nine points each, led by Cole Anthony with 20 off the bench.
Rivers was still fired up after the contest, posting an Instagram story about Bamba saying "we only know about you from an old rap song" – referencing Sheck Wes' 2018 hit titled Mo Bamba.
His post read: "Buddy I went at you one-on-five! With no backup! You needed your team-mates otherwise you would of been choked out.
"We only know you from an old rap song, not hoops… and Orlando my city, ask around and actually find out. They don't mess with you there… facts!"
He deleted that post after a short period of time, and he explained the situation further when addressing the media afterwards.
"I’m just like, 'Yo, what are you doing?'," Rivers said. "I went up to him and I pressed him, and at that point, it can go one of two ways.
"I didn’t think we were going to get in a fight, but when you stand up that fast and put your hands up – he threw a punch and missed, thankfully. At that point I've got to protect myself. Ain’t no one worried about him."
Orlando center Moritz Wagner said it is difficult to know what to do when a situation like that breaks out, but he was proud of his team-mates supporting each other.
"You obviously want to have your teammate's back and at the same time, you’ve got to be a professional," he 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 [when Wagner was ejected against the Detroit Pistons in December]. 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… at the same time, there is something in me that appreciates the team sticking together like that."
The incident comes the night after both Dillon Brooks and Donovan Mitchell were ejected for a skirmish between the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers, with Brooks receiving a one-game suspension for instigating it.