That didn’t take long: The 2022-2023 National Basketball Association season is still in its opening week and players are already brawling.
Midway into the third quarter of the “chippy” Toronto Raptors-Miami Heat game on Saturday evening in Miami, things got heated between Caleb Martin of the home team and Christian Koloko for the visitors.
For a moment or two, it looked somewhat more like the NFL than the NBA, given the apparent tackle that took place.
Competing for a rebound off of a missed three-pointer by Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, the duo wound up grappling into the seats under the basket, after the play, potentially endangering fans sitting in that baseline area. “It spills out into the crowd,” a broadcaster noted in a video clip. “Martin definitely incited that.”
“This is not a good-looking scene,” another announcer commented about the scuffle. “Christian Koloko did not take well to the Caleb Martin foul and came out swinging,” he claimed.
“Martin was called for a foul on the play, Koloko wound up on the floor, and Martin stepped toward him as the Raptors’ rookie quickly bounced to his feet. Within seconds, Martin and Koloko were tangled again. Martin appeared to drive Koloko into the seats, which toppled over. Players from both teams quickly rushed to that spot, which was just a couple of feet in front of the Heat bench,” ESPN reported.
Caleb Martin and Christian Koloko got into it during Raptors-Heat. pic.twitter.com/c5YbdanKpr
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 23, 2022
After a brief interval of pushing and shoving, the situation seemed to calm down, although the game was put on hold while the referees viewed video of what occurred and staff cleaned up the area.
Official assessed technical fouls against both players and kicked them out of the game. None of the other players were whistled for technicals. No one was injured, fortunately.
About the encounter, Koloko told the media after the game, “He just stood there looking at me like crazy. I just stood up. I don’t know.”
For his part, Martin admitted that “It was a chippy game. That’s typically how the game goes with Toronto. It’s a chippy back and forth. But ultimately I just think that emotions were high and the game was a close game. It was back and forth. Overall, I got to be more professional in the way I handle those type of situations.”
Since the NBA regular season is a long voyage to nowhere while the teams often just go through the motions leading up to the playoffs, it is kind of surprising that emotions were running high, especially in October. That both teams are Eastern Conference rivals may perhaps have something to do with it.
Miami wound up winning the game 112-109.
Review the footage and draw your own conclusions.
It remains to be seen if the two players involved might be subject to further disciplinary action.
“Toronto coach Nick Nurse said he expects the NBA to take a longer look at what happened,” the Daily Mail reported.
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