The fight between Toronto Raptors big man Serge Ibaka and his Cleveland Cavaliers defender Marquese Chriss might have all started due to something the Cavs forward said after the two played out the last few seconds of the third quarter. A Raptors spokesman said Ibaka was reacting to something Chriss said to him after Ibaka was knocked to the floor. Ibaka fell and shoved Chriss upon getting up, which led to punches being thrown by both players.
The 126-101 defeat is a blow to the Raptors, who sit second in the Eastern Conference, but whose form has dipped in recent weeks.
Both players were ejected from the game. It was broken up quick.
Raptors coach Nick Burse admitted Ibaka's absence could be a concern ahead of a crucial phase in their season.
Real Madrid set to re-appoint Zidane after Solari is sacked
He has been heavily linked with the Chelsea job in recent months, due to the pressure on current manager Maurizio Sarri. But the Ajax embarrassment seems to have been the last straw. "Absolutely it was an error", he said.
Sexton led the Cavaliers with 13 first-half points while Leonard had 13 to pace the Raptors.
Leonard, averaging 27.1 points going into the game, hasn't appeared in more than two consecutive games since playing in five straight from January 25 through February 5. Chriss and Ibaka were jockeying for position for the throw, which wound up out of bounds. "I mean, I don't condone fighting at all, but I think if somebody comes at you, you have the right to defend yourself", Cavs Coach Larry Drew said.
Raptors: G Fred Van Vleet (ligament tear in left thumb) missed his 11th straight game.
Brandon Knight was rock-solid in 23 minutes of work - rounding out the Cavalier starters in double-figures with 12 points, adding five assists and a game-high three steals. I thought defensively he did a really good job. "Listen, it's always going to be concerning when something like that happens". 'We certainly don't want that in the game. We don't want to lose one of our guys for incidents like that'.