Austin Rivers, Mo Bamba at center of Magic-Timberwolves brawl that leads to five ejections
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers and Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba were at the center of a brawl on Friday that resulted in the ejection of five players.
The incident happened with 1:32 left in the third quarter as the Magic were up 83-73. Rivers appeared to approach the Magic bench to exchange words with Bamba, who was not checked into the game and wearing a warm-up shirt over his uniform. The Orlando center took exception.
Rivers and Bamba exchanged swings as the fight spilled onto the court from the sideline. The Magic's Jalen Suggs then tackled Rivers to the floor. Rivers and Bamba continued to wrestle on the floor as staff and teammates tried to separate the two.
"The play is under review for a hostile altercation."
Things get really heated between the Magic and Timberwolves. pic.twitter.com/IM0qY9JN5h
— Bally Sports Florida: Magic (@BallyMagic) February 4, 2023
In the play prior to the fight, Rivers missed a corner 3-point shot by the Magic's bench and words appeared to be exchanged.
"I just heard language on their bench, just by one dude – he had said something the play before, as well," Rivers said after the game. "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. 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.
"He proceeded to talk so that next possession when I went down there I just said pretty much 'just keep it respectful, bro.' 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."
"The play is under review for a hostile altercation," referees immediately announced.
Rivers, Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince were ejected from the Timberwolves. Bamba and Suggs were ejected on the Magic side.
After being ejected, Bamba posted a viral "(expletive) around, find out" meme on his Instagram Story as the game continued on without him.
The Magic went on to win the game 127-120.
MORE: Grizzles' Dillon Brooks suspended, Cavaliers' Donovan Mitchell fined after fight
After the game, Rivers responded to Bamba with an Instagram Story of his own.
Rivers said Bamba would have been choked out if it wasn't "1 on 5" and that Orlando is still "my city."
"We only know (you) from an old rap song," Rivers added.
Austin Rivers 👀 pic.twitter.com/PLzhVV5NEt
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) February 4, 2023
This is the second NBA fight that has happened in as many nights. On Thursday, the Cavs' Donovan Mitchell and Grizzlies' Dillon Brooks were both ejected following a spat. Brooks was suspended one game without pay for striking Mitchell in the groin and Mitchell was fined $20K for escalating the incident with pushing and shoving.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Austin Rivers, Mo Bamba at center of Magic-Timberwolves brawl