It was about a quarter to nine on Monday night when a notification came in that there was a new message in the group chat. One person wrote, “Wow, who’s watching the game?” and a few moments later he wrote, “There was a fight.” Suddenly everyone went to check Twitter for the video and instant reactions.
Cavs forward Marquese Chriss and Raptors center Serge Ibaka were going for an errant pass when Ibaka fell to the ground. Presumably feeling that Chriss had something to do with him falling to the ground, Ibaka came up ready to fight. Ibaka went for his neck then threw some punches. In an attempt to protect himself Chriss punched back hoping to get Ibaka away.
Things are getting HEATED at the Q tonight pic.twitter.com/IMlLehP7p9— Cleveland Sports Talk (@CLEsportsTalk) March 12, 2019
Today, the NBA handed down punishments to both Ibaka and Chriss. Ibaka will be suspended for three games without pay while Chriss will be gone for one game without pay. In their statement, the NBA said, “Ibaka’s suspension was based on his instigation of the physical altercation, throwing a punch at Chriss, and his prior history of fighting during NBA games. Chriss’s suspension was based on throwing a punch at Ibaka.”
The idea that Chriss is getting suspended for protecting himself seems foolish to me. I understand that he threw a punch, but it was in self-defense. What was he supposed to do? Let Ibaka keep wailing on him? While in the grand scheme of things Chriss missing a game is not the biggest deal in the world, but the idea that he was trying to get Ibaka off of him needs to be taken into consideration. Starting a fight should be punished, trying to protect yourself should not.