Pelicans’ Rivers, Thunder’s Collison ejected for ‘fighting fouls’

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison, left, and New Orleans Pelicans guard Austin Rivers, third right, get into a scuffle in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, April 14, 2014. Both were ejected from the game.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Monday night’s entertaining matchup between the playoff-bound Oklahoma City Thunder and the struggling New Orleans Pelicans provided more fireworks than anyone would have predicted.

The show was highlighted by a chippy encounter between the Thunder’s big man Nick Collison and the Pelicans point guard Austin Rivers that started with a few shoves and ended with ejections after players from both benches rallied to the cause.

The officials called "fighting fouls" on both players and ejected them from the game after the first half skirmish, despite objections from New Orleans’ head coach Monty Williams, who argued Collison hit Rivers in the back of the head without warning.