LOS ANGELES (AFP) — The Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves figured in a brawl at the Chase Center in San Francisco with the visitors overturning a 12-point deficit to snatch a 104-101 victory in the National Basketball Association in-season tournament on Tuesday.
The result was overshadowed by a spectacular melee in the first quarter which saw Golden State stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green ejected along with Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels.
Thompson was given his marching orders after a tangle with McDaniels in center court that ended with the Warriors player’s shirt ripped.
Green was ejected for his part in the scuffle when he dragged away the Wolves’ French star Rudy Gobert in a headlock.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was incensed by the decision to toss Thompson and insisted that Green had merely been defending a teammate.
“There is no way Klay should have been thrown out of the game,” Kerr said.
“He’s running up the floor and the guy grabs his jersey and is pulling on him, so Klay pulls back… that was ridiculous.”
On Green’s dismissal, Kerr added: “Guys on the bench were telling us Rudy had Klay, that’s why Draymond went at Rudy. That’s all I know — it was a bizarre way to start the game, a minute and a half in.”
Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic scored 32 points as the Denver Nuggets preserved their unbeaten home record to send the Los Angeles Clippers spinning to a sixth straight defeat.
A roller coaster Western Conference Group B battle in Denver saw the NBA champions overturn a seven-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter to close out a 111-108 victory.
The defeat was another bitter blow for the Clippers, who have now lost six games in a row since clinching the blockbuster signing of James Harden last month.