11 NBA Players Suspended After Scuffle in Pistons-Magic Game

Efthymis Oraiopoulos
By Efthymis Oraiopoulos
December 31, 2022Sportsshare
11 NBA Players Suspended After Scuffle in Pistons-Magic Game
Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey argues with referee Josh Tiven (R), during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Detroit, on Dec. 28, 2022. (Duane Burleson/AP Photo)

Orlando’s Moritz Wagner appeared to briefly get knocked out by a punch to the back of the head after starting a fight in the first half against the Pistons on Wednesday night.

Wagner has been suspended for two games following the fight, while Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes was suspended for three games and Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo one game on Thursday, the NBA said.

Wagner and Hayes were chasing a loose ball when Wagner pushed Hayes when the ball was going out of the sideline. Hayes lost his balance and landed on his team’s bench.

Pistons’ Diallo continued the altercation by pushing Wagner onto the Piston’s bench. Hayes then followed with several punches, and for a few seconds, Wagner seemed in a daze.

A dozen players and staff of the two teams then engaged in a short-lived scuffle. After the fight, Wagner walked by himself to his team’s bench.

“He’s fine,” said Franz Wagner, Moritz’s younger brother. “I haven’t seen the video, but I know that’s the last thing he wanted to do.”

Leaving Team’s Bench

Orlando Magic guards Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris and Kevon Harris, forwards Admiral Schofield and Franz Wagner, and centers Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. have also been suspended one game for leaving their team’s bench area during the altercation.

The incident occurred in the closing seconds of the second quarter of the Pistons’ 121-101 win over the Magic on Dec. 28 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“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. “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.”

The one-game suspensions issued to the eight Magic players for leaving their bench area will be done in a way that Orlando will have eight healthy players available to play in its next two games.

All the suspensions are without pay for the lost days. Most NBA players’ salaries range from more than $1 million to tens of millions of dollars per year.

In 2004, a fight between the Pistons and Indiana Pacers became forever known as “The Malice at the Palace” after fans became involved in the wild melee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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