Ding-ding! NBA fans, lehhhhhhhhht's get ready to ruuuuuummmmm-bbbbllllllllllllle -- again.
Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, the most famous boxing arena in the world, the NY Knicks and Denver Nuggets set upon each other in the squared rectangle for what snarky bloggers and snide sportswriters have billed as the Throwdown in Showtown.
Down 19 points with less than two minutes to play, a familiar position for Knicks teams the last few years, Knickerbocker Mardy Collins took it upon himself to exact some frontier justice on Nugget J.R. Smith as Smith drove the lane en route to increasing the Nuggets' already insurmountable lead. Predictably incensed, the Nugs retaliated in kind with the requisite pushing and arm flailing. It was shaping up as just another NBA slap-and-tickle fight until Knick fireplug Nate Robinson and foulee Smith went flying into pricey floor seats along the baseline behind the Nuggets basket.Oh it was on then.
Bodies rushed together on the court in a frenzy of expletives and "your mother!"s, and then league scoring leader Carmelo Anthony lost his mind and sucker-punched fouler Collins in the face.
Adding an extra level of intrigue to this story is word that just before the hard foul on Carmelo, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas "warned" Anthony not to venture into the lane. Sounds about right. It seems that Thomas and Nuggets coach George Karl have bad blood between them, Karl being a Larry Brown guy and Isaiah being decidedly not. Nicknamed "the baby-faced assassin", Thomas was always a sneaky dirty player back in his days with the intimidation-minded Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He'd smile, hug, and kiss-kiss you before the game, then cheap shot you with an elbow or a hard foul during the game -- ain't that right Magic, Michael, and Larry?
Oh you bet your sweet ass there's some finage resulting from this fracas. If there is one thing NBA commish David Stern will not tolerate, it's somebody soiling the image of his beloved cash cow, er moneymaker, er basketball product.
The Knicks and Pacers share the spirit of the holiday season, NYC style. Photo from The Columbian News.