The NBA has suspended three players involved in the on-court brawl during the Detroit Pistons’ win over Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Instigators, Killian Hayes and Mo Wagner were suspended for three and two games respectively on Thursday. Meanwhile, Hamadou Diallo will sit a game out. All three are suspended without pay.
Wagner was ejected for a flagrant foul, alongside Detroit’s Hayes and Diallo, who were also thrown out for their actions during the ensuing scuffle. Detroit managed to win 121-101. The NBA wasn’t done there. suspending eight Magic players Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris, Kevon Harris, Admiral Schofield, Franz Wagner, Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter, Jr. for a singular game for leaving the bench amid the on-court fracas.
Wagner seemed to be momentarily unconscious following a blow to the back of the head by Hayes after being hip-checked into his team’s bench. The pair started the fight which led to three ejections Wednesday night in a scene that triggered memories of an ugly brawl in Detroit 18 years ago – The Malice at the Palace.
Hayes swung his right arm and struck Wagner, who slumped over and appeared to be momentarily unconscious. It followed a hip-check by Wagner on Hayes who got up angrily and reacted with force. Following the game Wagner’s younger brother – and Magic Teammate – Franz confirmed to AP that his brother was ‘fine.’
‘I haven’t seen the video,’ he said. ‘But I know that’s the last thing he wanted to do.’ With 33.2 seconds left in the first half, Wagner and Hayes chased an errant Magic pass into the backcourt. Wagner knew Orlando would be called for a backcourt violation as soon as he touched it, and as he slowed up to let it go out of bounds, Hayes tried to cut past him along the sideline.
Wagner’s checking of Hayes into the Detroit bench was the firestarter of the scuffle which involved every player on both teams.‘I need an explanation about the decision because my understanding is you can’t leave the bench area and escalate a situation,’ Pistons coach Dwane Casey said postgame. ‘That’s when really bad things can happen.’
Franz Wagner said the Magic players didn’t feel they had a choice. ‘We’re aware of the rule, but things like that usually happen on the court, not on one of the benches,’ he said. ‘Your worry is that your teammate is down there amongst the whole other team.’
With memories of The Malice at the Palace from 2004 where fans belonged to the fracas very much in the minds of many inside Little Caesars Arena, the Pistons announcer made sure nothing similar was going to occur. ‘Stay in your seats. The moment you move, you’re going to jail,’ he said over the PA.