March 15, 2024

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EuroLeague Playoff Game Suspended After Wild On-court Brawl in Madrid

3 min read
EuroLeague Playoff Game Suspended After Wild On-court Brawl in Madrid
  • Madrid-Partizan basketball game suspended after melee
  • Former NBA player Dante Exum suffers apparent leg injury

A fight between players from both teams resulted in the suspension of Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade’s EuroLeague basketball game with less than two minutes remaining.

A hard foul by Madrid guard Sergio Llull on American forward Kevin Punter upset Partizan players and caused the benches to be cleared as Madrid was losing 95-80 at home and was about to fall behind two games to none in their playoff series.

During the brawl in the capital of Spain, there were punches thrown and two players—one from each team—were knocked to the ground by rivals.

Officials spent several minutes watching replays before deciding to call the game off with 1:40 left because “neither team had the requisite minimum of two players each required to finish the game” after all disqualifications were applied, the league said. Partizan Belgrade was declared the game’s victor, and it was officially over.

“Euroleague Basketball strongly condemns the events that happened at the end of the game,” the league said. “Such incidents do not reflect the respect-based ideals that the league, its clubs, and basketball itself uphold.”

The league said its independent disciplinary judge “will issue a decision about the on-court incidents in accordance with the established proceedings within the following 24 hours”.

Dante Exum of Partizan, Guerschon Yabusele, and Danan Musa of Madrid were among the former NBA players present during the action.

Exum, who spent seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz and helped Australia win a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics, was body-slammed by Yabusele and appeared to have a ruptured tendon in his toe. Later, the Melbourne native could be seen using crutches to leave the arena.

“Yabusele should have been imprisoned or given a life suspension for the way he was thrown. As Yabusele threw him, Exum could have broken his spine, seriously injured his head, and ended his career,” Doctor Moma Jakovljevic of Partizan spoke to Mozzart Sport. “Never in my life have I witnessed anything as horrible as this.”

Partizan Belgrade coach Zeljko Obradovic said emotions took over the players, but “after the game they greeted each other” and it was all “finished and discussed between them.”

“This is in the hands of the officials and in the hands of the EuroLeague,” he said. “What happened, in my opinion, is not good for basketball’s reputation, nor is it good for Real Madrid’s or Partizan’s reputations. Nothing like this ought to occur. This has happened, and the players are feeling things.”

Prior to Tuesday’s third game of the best-of-five series in Belgrade, Obradovic promised to make an effort to calm the Partizan Belgrade supporters.

“When we go to Belgrade tomorrow, I’m going to talk about that,” he said. “I’m going to try to calm everyone down so that we can welcome Real Madrid with the same warmth that these people have shown us. That they will cheer for our team, yes, but that they won’t take any action to harm Real Madrid.”

Madrid’s first game was won 89-87 by Partizan Belgrade.


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