Auburn Hills, MI, United States (AHN Sports) – The Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons played a meaningless game Monday night but that didn’t stop things from getting interesting.
Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva and Cleveland’s Ryan Hollins were both ejected in the fourth quarter after the two got into a physical confrontation.
With 5:47 to play, Villanueva set a pick on Hollins. The two got tangled up and a shoving match ensued reulting in both players being ejected. Villanueva struggled to get back across the court at Hollins but was held back by security guards.
“You just don’t want it to escalate like that,” Cleveland guard Daniel Gibson said. “There were a lot of expletives exchanged that I don’t think I can repeat, but that stuff happens when your competitive nature kicks in and you just hope it doesn’t go as far as it did.”
The ejection did not end the skirmish, at least not for Villanueva, who twice was unsuccessful in attempts to get from the Pistons locker room to the Cavaliers’.
According to Villanueva, the incident started at the other end before he set the screen on Hollins.
“He threw an elbow,” Villanueva said. “Caught me in my lip. Just told him to watch the elbow and he said something real smart, so I got angry. Heat of the moment. That’s about it. It’s something that happened on the court. It should stay on the court. I overreacted. He said some things that kind of got me upset.”
At least one of Villanueva’s teammates backed up his claim.
“I saw Ryan Hollins give him a shot down at the other end, then I saw Charlie set a pick on him, then I saw them grab each other,” Austin Daye said. “I thought they were just holding each other, being nice, but then it kind of got physical.”
Fortunately things did not blow up into something like the Pistons-Pacers brawl of 2004.
As for the game, Cleveland (18-63) moved ahead of Minnesota in the race to avoid the NBA’s worst record with the win. Minnesota (17-64) has lost 14 straight after a 135-127 overtime loss at Phoenix.