The NBA’s fightiest fight in quite some time erupted during arguably one of the most innocuous games of the season.
Raptors forward Serge Ibaka fell while trying to reach for a lobbed ball that went over his head. Cavaliers forward Marquese Chriss also tried to get the ball but lifted his hands up as Ibaka went down to the ground to so as to not give officials a reason to blow the whistle for any contact (if only they knew what was next). Chriss then appeared to say something to Ibaka as he was lying on the floor, and whatever the Cleveland player said was enough to enrage the Raptors big man to the point where he went after Chriss’s throat. Unsurprisingly, the two started throwing punches.
Here’s another angle of the skirmish that shows just how quickly Ibaka went from 0 to 100, and really makes one wonder what the hell Chriss said.
Chriss is far from a small guy—he stands at 6-foot-10—but the slow-motion replay makes him look like a freshman getting his lunch money taken away by the senior school bully. He was still able to kind of recover and throw a few blows. Despite one guy clearly getting in more licks than the other, both players were given the same punishment: a swift ejection.
The last time Ibaka was involved in a fight of this magnitude (read as: real punches were actually thrown) Robin Lopez was his opponent. Both players were only given one-game suspensions.