Five Ejected After Bench Clearing Brawl Between Wolves and Magic

Photo: ESPN

Benches cleared and five players were ejected from Friday night’s Minnesota Timberwolves vs Orlando Magic game at Target Center. Those who got tossed included Austin Rivers, Taurean Prince and Jaden McDaniels for the Wolves, Mo Bamba and Jalen Suggs for the Magic.

The sudden altercation surprised the Bally Sports broadcast and everyone watching. Austin Rivers and Mo Bamba started jawing near the Orlando bench. Whatever Rivers said was enough to make Bamba jump up (with his warmups on) and throw fists. Nobody took any real shots but it was still one of the best melees in Target Center history.

It all started when Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba made fun of Rivers after he badly missed a 3PT shot the possession before. After the game, Rivers would tell media that Fultz and Bamba were “saying wild things” for multiple possessions before the fight broke out.

Fight spills over after the game

Rivers tried to hold back, when asked about the altercation postgame, and what led to the kerfuffle. It didn’t take much probing from reporters for him to open up a vein, though. The 10-year NBA veteran chalked it all up to two men in the heat of the moment who lost their cools.

Rivers did, however, take issue with the way former Minnehaha Academy phenom, Jalen Suggs, blindsided him into a flying headlock while he was toe-to-toe with Bamba. Admittedly, that was a cheap shot and not something you should do when two grown men are squaring off.

When Bamba and Rivers physically separated, the scuffle took to social media. Mo Bamba posted the recently popular “fuck around and find out” meme. Austin Rivers replied with a post of his own reminding Bamba that he was willing to go 1v5 when first confronting the Magic bench.

Chris Finch backs Austin Rivers

Timberwolves head coach, Chris Finch, backed Austin Rivers fully, saying that it’s completely unacceptable for a player who is not in the game to jump off the bench and start throwing punches like Mo Bamba did.

We’ll see what the NBA thinks when suspensions and fines are being handed out this week. Here are both Austin Rivers and Chris Finch’s postgame press conferences, in their totality.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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