Cavs’ Brandon Knight says Marquese Chriss forced to ‘defend himself’ after Serge Ibaka near-choke
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Brandon Knight was the closest player to the altercation between his teammate Marquese Chriss and Toronto Raptors big man Serge Ibaka, one which resulted in the ejection of both players and a potential upcoming suspension for engaging in fisticuffs. According to Knight, Chriss acted in self-defense and was put in a “no-win situation” once attacked by Ibaka.
The Cavs led 91-77 with only one second left in the third quarter, as Ibaka tried to catch a last-second pass for a heave at the rim, but fell, at which point Chriss was seen saying something his way as he walked away.
Soon enough, Ibaka rose up, chased after Chriss and nearly choked him against the stanchion, he was grazed by an Ibaka punch, at which point the Cavs forward fired back with one of his own.
“He had to defend himself,” Knight told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “What else was he supposed to do?”
Knight gets it. Very few people were close to them when they engaged and Chriss was chased from behind, giving him little time to react or defend himself properly. That no-win situation is very real — damned (and embarrassed) if he doesn’t protect himself and fire back, and likely facing a suspension if he did.
Ultimately, he chose the latter of the two evils — and he had the full support of his coach in doing so.
“I mean, I don’t condone fighting at all, but I think if somebody comes at you, you have the right to defend yourself,” head coach Larry Drew said. “I have to go back and look at the tape to see exactly what happened, but I don’t believe there’s a place in our game for fighting. In the heat of the moment I understand that things do happen. If you get in a situation where clearly you’re being attacked, your natural instinct is going to be to defend yourself. I’m not sure what happened, I’ll go back and take a look and it and then I’ll make a judgment on that.”
The NBA league office is looking at the altercation before doling out a ruling on Tuesday for both players involved.