Originally created 12/18/06

'Dis' ignited brawl's start



NEW YORK - It was late in the fourth quarter. The New York Knicks were losing badly. The Madison Square Garden crowd was cheering for the Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony.

So by the time Denver's J.R. Smith went in on another fast break Saturday, the Knicks had had enough.

Mardy Collins figured he'd put a stop to the fun with a hard foul. Instead, it was the start of a wild brawl.

The fight went from one end of the court to the other. Carmelo Anthony dropped Collins with a punch, Smith and Nate Robinson went flying into the stands while fighting, and six other players were ejected.

Anthony could be looking at a suspension of more than five games. The NBA was reviewing the incident and interviewing people involved Sunday. It could announce penalties today, since both teams play.

What caused the meltdown? It seems to come down to this: The Knicks felt dissed.

"The score period, and the guys that they had in," Robinson said after the game.

Anthony, Camby, Smith and fellow starter Andre Miller were still on the floor with Denver up by 19 points with 1:15 to play when Collins prevented Smith from another easy basket by grabbing him by the neck and taking him to the floor. Smith rose and immediately started jawing with Collins, and Robinson jumped in to pull Smith away. Anthony shoved Robinson away, and Robinson and Smith then fought into the first row.

Just as things appeared to be calming down, Anthony threw a hard punch that floored Collins, and New York's Jared Jeffries sprinted from the baseline toward halfcourt in an effort to get at Anthony, who was backing away, but was tackled by a Denver player.