It was ugly and it’s a stain on the game that isn’t going to wash away quickly. You can say that’s not fair, and I won’t argue with you. Looked at rationally, this is the first brawl the league has had since the big one in Auburn Hills, and that was two years ago.
There have been scads of baseball brawls since then, fights every couple of nights at hockey games across two countries, and who knows how many NFL players taking swings — or kicks — at each other.
So a brawl every two years isn’t really that many, and despite the comparisons you’ll hear, this one between the Nuggets and Knicks, in which all 10 players on the court at the time were ejected, was nothing like the truly disgusting fight between the Pacers and Pistons.
Still any brawls are too many, especially in the NBA, which has been fighting furiously to rid itself of the perception that it’s a haven for thugs, which it isn’t — at least not any more than any other sport. But for most people, perception is reality, and David Stern knows it. That’s why he made everybody dress up in coats and ties last year, to spiff up the league’s image.
So these things are going to happen now and then. It’s Stern’s job to see to it that it’s more then than now. That's why he came down so hard on the malefactor’s in Saturday’s brawl that other players will think six or eight times before they even think about throwing a punch.
That's why Melo is sitting 15 games. He delivered the Knicks' Mardy Collins a roundhouse right to the chin, then skittered back to safety. It was the low point of a low night — until after the game.
That was when George Karl got all preachy about how awful it had been. That might have gone over if it hadn’t been that he was the guy who, with fewer than 90 ticks left on the game clock and a 19-point lead, left his starters in the game just to rub a little more salt into the Knicks’ wounds. Karl’s a good friend of Larry Brown’s, you see, and, although he’ll deny it, he might have been thinking about making Isiah Thomas, the Knicks’ coach, president and man who fired Brown, pay for his sins.
Karl backfilled like a pro after his little effort at running up the score erupted into a full-court brawl, saying: “I feel bad for the league, I feel bad for the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks. ... Very poor display of respecting basketball and respecting the game in the best place in the world to play basketball.”
PBT: LeBron James created self-imposed pressure to win "not two, not three, not four" titles. Thus, should the Heat's title chase fail, it's his legacy that will take the hit.
PBT: All season long, the Heat have largely coasted, only turning up their intensity when facing elimination. That won't be good enough in Game 6 tonight.
Dec. 18: The NBA is dealing with another PR problem in the wake of the Nuggets-Knicks brawl Saturday night. NBC's Mike Taibbi reports.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
Bosh: 'We'll see who hits first'
Heat forward Chris Bosh talks about what could be a very physical Game 6 stating, 'hit them in the mouth, throat and their eyes'. Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra says the opposing Spurs 'attack you.. but we do the same thing'.
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