Five Ejected After Bench Clearing Brawl Between Wolves and Magic
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.
Austin Rivers and Mo Bamba trading punches, Rivers walked over the Magic bench pic.twitter.com/mqsndd3szz— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) February 4, 2023
The Target Center Tussle 👀#RaisedByWolves | #NBA pic.twitter.com/7DPJwnELgS— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) February 4, 2023
Mo Bamba and Markelle Fultz teasing Austin Rivers after he missed a 3 before the fight pic.twitter.com/6Y3LYhqR8d— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) February 4, 2023
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.
"I went in there 1-on-5. I ain't have no help."— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 4, 2023
Austin Rivers talks about his fight with Mo Bamba & Suggs grabbing his neckpic.twitter.com/39CtUOgd2v
Both Mo Bamba and Austin Rivers posted to their Instagram Stories following their altercation on Friday. pic.twitter.com/z6hDQPHTL1— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) February 4, 2023
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.
Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers breaks down what led to the fight between him and Mo Bamba. #RaisedByWolves | #NBA pic.twitter.com/o0aQsBp3rR— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) February 4, 2023
“They had a guy come off the bench and throw a punch, which is one of the most egregious things you can do.”— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) February 4, 2023
Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch reacts to the fight and ejections in the loss to the Magic. 🔊#RaisedByWolves | #Timberwolves | #NBA pic.twitter.com/LzNwahHe3w
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan