Dirty hit on Raptors rookie Koloko sparks wild melee with Heat

Raptors rookie christian Koloko was at the centre of a wild sequence in Miami on Saturday. (Screengrab via TSN)
Raptors rookie christian Koloko was at the centre of a wild sequence in Miami on Saturday. (Screengrab via TSN)

Raptors rookie Christian Koloko was ejected for the first time in his young NBA career after being speared by Heat forward Caleb Martin.

Midway through the third quarter of the Toronto-Miami game on Saturday night, Koloko and Martin got tangled up while battling for a rebound before Martin was called for a loose-ball foul. Upon what looked like innocuous jockeying for position, the Heat forward decided to accost the 22-year-old rookie as if he was in the wrong.

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Koloko, in self-defence, stepped up to the older Martin as he towered over him, only to be speared into the seats behind them. The tumultuous scuffle came to a climax with both teams’ players coming to their brethren's aid while coaches tried preventing their benches from joining the brawl.

Cooler heads eventually prevailed after a few intense moments, but both Koloko and Martin were ejected for the altercation — despite the latter clearly playing the role of instigator. Understandably so, the internet quickly came to the defence of the Cameroon native.

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Koloko was also lauded for having the maturity to stand up for himself, showing a high level of courage despite only having a handful of NBA games (three) under his belt.

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Following Koloko's ejection, the Raptors did make a serious run, eventually losing by three after trailing by more than 20 at one point.