Basketball games sometimes see on-court brawls, but the one that happened in a EuroLeague playoffs game Thursday stands out.
With Partizan Belgrade up 95-80 on Real Madrid on the road (and already up 1-0 in the best-of-five series), Real Madrid’s Sergio Llull fouled Partizan’s Kevin Punter, who reacted by challenging Llull. That quickly turned into a full confrontation between the teams.
It escalated into even headlocks, and into Real Madrid’s Guerschon Yabusele giving Partizan’s Dante Exum a full wrestling suplex:
CAOS IN MADRID.
Very bad attitude by Real Madrid players who want to end the game in a real fight against Partizan Belgrade.
Not the way we want to see a EuroLeague game.#Basketball #Baloncesto #EuroLeague #Partizan #Belgrade #RealMadrid #Fight #Caos pic.twitter.com/Ap1UYVl2xf
— Matteo Andreani (@matty_vanpersie) April 27, 2023
That prompted quite the reaction:
Ok, we've got a suplex here. That's utterly barmy.
Fines, suspensions, and who knows what else coming. https://t.co/IwYrDyGgXZ
— Ball in Europe (@ballineurope) April 27, 2023
Real Madrid couldn't accept another loss. That show and explain their character especially for Ljulj, Deco or other big muscle guy who doesn't deserve to mention his name. Shame on Real Madrid, shame on all of you! https://t.co/eYrfUaP34c
— Sinisa Cvijetinovic (@cvijets) April 27, 2023
— 15cule 🇦🇷⭐⭐⭐ (@15okan) April 27, 2023
This is not how gentlemen lose the game… Shame on Llull and the rest of the team… Nevertheless, we will welcome you with respect. Bienvenida a Belgrado! https://t.co/A152BgmsFM
— Milos Sekulic (@milosekulic) April 27, 2023
The game was eventually suspended after that, with too many players ejected for it to be resumed. Partizan coach Zeljko Obradovic had some notable comments afterward, including on the potential injury Exum picked up from that suplex:
“We talk about players having emotions, but it was the end of the game and nothing really happened (to trigger the incident)”, said Partizan coach Zeljko Obradovic in the press conference.
As he added: “I will try to calm things down because I have many friends in Real Madrid, it’s a great club and we have to welcome them in Belgrade. We have to talk about basketball and if we do that, there’s nothing else. There’s a video, but it doesn’t matter. The players talked after the game and this should be the end of the story. We don’t need to continue to talk so much about this”.
For Exum, Obradovic added: “It looks bad, we will know tomorrow”.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s Rudy Fernandez apologized for his team’s actions:
“After what we have experienced today, we have to say sorry to our fans, to every basketball fan. We can’t watch this kind of incident, but as players we have emotions and we make mistakes. Today was one of these days. We consider Partizan a team that is our friend, coach Zeljko knows very well this gym and we all feel the same. The tension has to stop here and we will have to play just a game of basketball for the fans to enjoy the EuroLeague”.
We’ll see what discipline the league hands down. Game 3 is currently set for Tuesday, May 2, in Belgrade.