DETROIT (AP) — 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 that led to three ejections Wednesday night in a scene that triggered memories of an ugly brawl in Detroit 18 years ago.
Wagner was ejected for a flagrant foul, while Detroit’s Killian Hayes and Hamadou Diallo were thrown out for their actions during the ensuing scuffle in front of the Pistons bench.
With 34 seconds left in the first half, Wagner and Hayes chased an errant Magic pass into the backcourt. Wagner knew Orlando would be called for a backcourt violation as soon as he touched it, and as he slowed up to let it go out of bounds, Hayes tried to cut past him along the sideline.
Wagner hip-checked Hayes into the Detroit bench. starting a scuffle that involved every player on both teams.
Hayes got back up and swung his right arm and struck Wagner, who slumped over and appeared to be unconscious.
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.
Numerous Magic players could be facing suspension for leaving the bench area. Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, Wendell Carter Jr, Gary Harris, Mo Bamba, R.J. Hampton, Terrence Ross and Admiral Schofield were the players out of the game as the Orlando bench emptied.
Dave Hogg, The Associated Press