Monday, December 18, 2006

Right Thinking, Wrong Actions

As you may have already heard, the NBA had another intense on court brawl. Now by all means it was nothing close to the Pistons/Pacers fiasco over two years ago, but this ruckus was surely something not to be overlooked.

The New York Knicks were playing the Denver Nuggets Saturday night. The Nuggets began amassing a very large lead, and quite frankly that's how things got out of hand. With a 19 point lead and 1:15 left in the game, Coach George Karl still had 4 of his 5 starters in the game.

George Karl has a strong friendship with Larry Brown, and as we all know things did not go too well between Brown and Isaiah Thomas last year. Many critics feel Karl was showing his anger with the situation in New York last year by running up the score against the Knicks.

JR Smith (Denver) was on a fast break and going up for a layup when Mardy Collins (New York) grabbed Smith by the neck. Collins aggressively flung Smith down to the ground. Immediately following the clothesline-like tackle, Smith jumped up into Collins face. Nate Robinson (New York) ran into the argument where he proceeded to pull Smith away. Carmelo Anthony (Denver) shoved Robinson off of Smith. Robinson and Smith then fell into the stands where the fight escalated to its greatest. As the incident started to die down, Anthony sucker punched Collins in the face. Jared Jefferies (New York) sprinted down court to breakup the altercation. He was quickly tackled by a Denver player.

Today, Commissioner David Stern formally announced the suspensions for Saturday's brawl. In all, the suspensions add up to 47 games. Anthony received the harshest penalty as he will be suspended for the next 15 games. Robinson and Smith each received 10 games, while Collins was given six and Jefferies four. A couple other individuals where given light suspensions due to having left their team's benches. Neither Coach Karl or Thomas where suspended or fined in anyway. Criticism is afloat as it has been speculated that Thomas told his team to give a hard foul to one of Denver's players. Previous to the incident, Thomas can be seen mouthing to Anthony not to go to the other end of the court.

First things first, I agree with the thinking Mardy Collins had, but I don't like how he went through with it. It doesn't matter what profession you are in, respect is always an important thing for people to take into account. Despite Coach Karl's recent comments that his team was not running up the score, I still feel that the Nuggets were disrespecting the Knicks in a huge way. Three players were scheduled to check into the game, but the brawl had broken out. This very well could mean that Karl was planning on taking out his starters had Collins never tackled Smith. Still, to wait until their was only 1:15 left in the game to take your starters out when your team was up by 19 is pretty convincing to a viewer, that as a coach running up the score was your objective.

Take this situation from New York's perspective. The season has been lousy so far and you are playing at home against a big opponent, the Denver Nuggets. The game got out of hand and another loss will be heading your way. You as a player are frustrated, your teammates are frustrated, and your coach is frustrated. You are down by 19 and your opponent does not seem to be letting up.

Having 4 starters still in the game with 65 seconds left AND being up by 19 points is showing tremendous disrespect to a whole franchise. Now for me, I think Thomas did say something to his teammates. His team was going to lose and his opponent was not even respecting the mercy rule. As a coach, Thomas informed his teammates on the classless act Denver was performing.

Collins's thinking was an act of pride, but his actions were too extreme. If you are going to commit a hard foul, commit a hard foul not a tackle. Collins put his arm around Smith's neck. That was too much physical contact for a big ruckus to be avoided. If Collins had gone up with Smith during the layup and done a blatantly obvious grab-and-pull of Smith's shooting arm, followed by an aggressive shoulder into him, that would have been better.


Unlike the neck tackle, that move does not come across as a symbol to your opponent as you saying, "Let's fight!" It comes across as you being a frustrated player. A hard foul is meant to be done in a kind of ''hidden'' way.

Overall, I agree Denver was disrespecting New York. I agree New York had to take a physical action, but I don't agree with how they went about it...

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