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Arron Afflalo, Nemanja Bjelica Ejected from Timberwolves vs. Magic for Fighting

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

Orlando Magic's Arron Afflalo, left, gets into a fight with Minnesota Timberwolves' Nemanja Bjelica, center, as D.J. Augustin, right, comes in to help break it up during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. Afflalo and Bjelica were ejected from the game. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica were ejected during the second quarter of Monday's game, the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins reported.

As the two were fighting for position on a shot by Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford, Afflalo threw a punch at Bjelica that missed. Bjelica proceeded to place Afflalo in a headlock before players and referees intervened to separate the two.

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Baseball Prospectus' Aaron Gleeman thought an ejection was harsh for Bjelica:

Aaron Gleeman @AaronGleeman

Arron Afflalo just took a full swing at Nemanja Bjelica, who avoided the punch and then calmly put him in a head lock. The referees kicked out both players, which seems ... unfair. What was Bjelica supposed to do in reaction to someone throwing a punch at his face?

"I don't want to feel like a victim here, that's part of the game," Bjelica said after the game, via ESPN News Services. "But he took a swing at me, and I was just trying to protect myself, first of all, and to calm him down because he was wild.

"I don't know what's wrong with that guy, but at that point I have to protect myself and my family."

Bjelica will almost certainly face fewer consequences when the NBA eventually weighs in.

The league only handed out fines for Draymond Green and Bradley Beal after they got involved in a minor skirmish during the Golden State Warriors' 120-117 win over the Washington Wizards on Oct. 27. Nothing Bjelica did Tuesday night was more egregious than Green and Beal's shoving match.

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Afflalo, on the other hand, likely earned himself a suspension.

The NBA suspended Serge Ibaka and James Johnson for one game after they exchanged punches in the Miami Heat's 90-89 win over the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 9. Ibaka and Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez received one-game suspensions last year as well following a similar incident.

Based on precedent, a one-game ban is the least Afflalo can expect to see.

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