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Timberwolves guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba set NBA Twitter ablaze Friday night after igniting a five-player melee during a matchup at the Target Center. Given that Rivers started the fight while Bamba was on the bench, many people on social media wondered what could’ve angered 11-year veteran to that extent.
Well, thanks to Magic guard Kevon Harris, NBA fans now have a better idea of how his teammate ended up exchanging blows with Rivers as he made his way down the floor late in the third quarter. After the game, Harris, who was sitting near to Bamba at the time, revealed on Twitter that the big man started chirping at Rivers after he missed a three-point attempt in front of Orlando’s bench. The comment?
“All he said was ‘This ain’t high school no mo’ when he missed the 3,” Harris tweeted in response to a fan questioning an image of Magic guard Markelle Fultz’s stunned reaction after the exchange.
Bamba did not speak to the media, but Rivers did comment on the moment to reporters, saying that he “heard language on that bench” but he wasn’t going to “snitch on the dude.” However, if Harris’s account is true, Bamba was a clear diss at Rivers’s past exploits as a local high school phenom.
The No. 1 player in the Class of 2011, Rivers—the son of former player and Sixers coach Doc Rivers—is still known for his days as a highly-touted five-star prospect and back-to-back state champion. As fate would have it, Rivers’s NBA career never quite took off as hoped since he was drafted 10th overall in 2012 following one year at Duke.
Regardless of exactly what was said, it was enough on this night to set Rivers off. On the next Minnesota possession after his miss, Rivers approached Bamba on the sideline where the two began exchanging punches before moving onto the floor.
Magic guard Jalen Suggs jumped in to pull Rivers away by his neck and ended up slinging him to the floor, prompting T-Wolves forwards Jaden McDaniels and Taurean Prince to join the chaos. All five players were ejected from the game after the sequence was reviewed by officials.