Three NBA players were ejected from a game Wednesday night after a fight broke out on one of the benches that appeared to leave one player temporarily unconscious.
The Orlando Magic’s Moritz Wagner was ejected for a flagrant foul after starting a fight during the first half of the team’s match-up against the Detroit Pistons, which the Pistons won 121-101.
ESPN reported that Wagner “appeared to briefly get knocked out by a punch to the back of the head” from the Pistons’ Killian Hayes.
As Wagner and Hayes chased after the ball at the end of the first half, Wagner bumped Hayes with the side of his body into the Detroit bench.
The Pistons’ Hamadou Diallo ran in and aggressively checked Wagner into the bench.
Moments later, Hayes regained his balance after falling over some chairs and threw a punch at the back of Wagner’s head, who then “slumped over and appeared to be unconscious,” the report said.
Hayes and Diallo were both ejected for their roles in the altercation.
Franz Wagner, Moritz’s younger brother, said that his brother was “fine” after the incident.
Things got heated between the Magic and Pistons 😳 pic.twitter.com/5IiZBoBZYx
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 29, 2022
Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley also said during a postgame press conference that Wagner was “fine.”
“We’ll have to go back and look at the film to see exactly what happened,” Mosley said. “I was just concerned about my guys that were down on the [Pistons’] bench, down there, making sure they got away from that side. … Moe Wagner was still on the bench underneath everyone. Markelle [Fultz] was in there trying to help Moe Wagner out, so it was my responsibility to get our players away from the problem. It was not me trying to be restrained, I was trying to make sure our players were taken care of.”
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey also spoke about the fight after the game, saying that he was not happy with how players conducted themselves.
“I was upset because my understanding of the rule is the fact that when you leave your bench to go get in the altercation, your are escalating it,” Casey said. “My thing is the words being said by their players and coaches that were not de-escalating the situation and the official, to his credit, he said he did not hear it. Okay, I understand that, but for them not to have anyone ejected.”
“I got to go back and get an explanation because my understanding of the rule is that if you leave the bench, and you go down and get involved, that’s how bad things start, really bad things. I didn’t feel like they were de-escalating the situation.”
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) December 29, 2022