The Miami Heat’s 112-109 victory over the Toronto Raptors was almost the side story of a game stopped for several minutes after a fight between Miami’s Caleb Martin and Toronto’s Christian Koloko.
After giving up for a rebound midway through the third quarter, Martin was called out for a foul and stood over the fallen Koloko who caught Martin as he got up.
Martin retaliated by regrouping Koloko in the front row of the stands as fans rushed and players from both teams piled in to separate the two men.
Both were ejected from the match after he was stopped for several minutes while the referees made their decision.
“There were a lot of games leading up to that,” Martin said afterward, according to ESPN.
“It was a tangy game. That’s usually how the game goes with Toronto. It’s a chippy back and forth. But ultimately I just think the emotions were high and the game was close “It was back and forth. Overall, I need to be more professional in how I handle these types of situations.
Koloko, meanwhile, told ESPN: “I just defended and got kicked out. That’s what happened.”
Losing 81-59 at the time, the brawl seemed to rejuvenate the Raptors who went on a 17-2 run to make the game competitive again.
Eventually, 24 points from Jimmy Butler, along with 20 from Max Strus off the bench and 17 from Kyle Lowry against his former club, allowed the Heat to hang on for their first win of the season.
The two teams will meet in Miami on Monday.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, Luka Doncic inspired the Dallas Mavericks to a comprehensive 137-96 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Boston Celtics maintained their perfect start to the season with a 126-120 win over the Orlando Magic. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 44 points to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 125-105 win over the Houston Rockets.