Give the Knicks credit for one thing: They have pride, although what a 9-17 team has to be proud about remains a mystery. No matter, Collins, one of the scrubs Thomas had on the court for garbage time, hugged Smith around the neck and shoulders with such gusto, Smith ended up on the floor.
Here’s where you can toss some more blame. If Collins and the Knicks don’t want to be embarrassed by such displays, they could try playing better. They might ask Thomas, who tried his best to blame the Nuggets when it was his own guy who inflicted the unforgivable flagrant foul on Smith that starter the brawl, why he doesn’t try putting together a decent team.
Then you can wonder why Stern hasn’t simply banned flagrant fouls — especially the kind Collins committed, a foul in a blowout game whose only purpose was to punish an opponent for playing too well. There’s no place in the game for such fouls — they’re vicious and have no justification. You foul somebody flagrantly, you’re out of the game — like intentionally throwing at a batter. Again, if you don’t want somebody to jam on you, play better defense.
Then there were the players. Melo and Marcus Camby and Smith didn’t want to talk about the brawl. Instead, they told reporters, they wanted to talk about the game — as if anybody was going to think that important on Sunday morning.
The Knicks didn’t want to talk either, and all Thomas could do was blame Karl and try to justify Collins’ tackle of Smith by saying Collins was just trying to save the few paying customers still in the building from having to watch their team suffer further humiliation.
The Knicks are a terrible basketball team. They were that way when Thomas inherited them, but he’s done little to make them better. Getting humiliated is a way of life for them.
The solution isn’t flagrant fouls or throwing punches. It doesn’t help the team and it damages a league that doesn’t really need any more damage.
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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.
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