Ten players, including NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, were ejected for fighting during a wild brawl near the end of Saturday night's game between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks.
Punches were thrown and players flew into the crowd in the NBA's ugliest scene since Indiana Pacers players
This time, it happened at Madison Square Garden, right in the hometown of NBA headquarters.
"I feel bad for the league, I feel bad for the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "Very poor display of respecting basketball and respecting the game in the best place in the world to play basketball."
Anthony appeared to throw one of the punches, and now awaits what will surely be strong punishment from a league still trying to repair its image after the melee in Auburn Hills, Mich.
"Something's going to happen, but we shall see and wait," Anthony said. "I don't really want to comment on that right now."
Anthony scored 34 points before the melee took place with 1:15 left in the Nuggets' 123-100 victory over the Knicks.
Denver led 119-100 when Knicks guard Mardy Collins grabbed Denver's J.R. Smith around the neck as Smith was going in for a breakaway layup. Smith got up and jawed with Collins, and New York's Nate Robinson jumped in to yell at Smith.
"They were having their way with us," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "I think J.R. Smith had just made one dunk when he reversed and spun in the air. And I think Mardy didn't want our home crowd to see that again. So he fouled him."
Anthony rushed in and pushed Robinson in the neck, triggering the roughest moment, when Robinson and Smith went flying into the stands while fighting with each other. Anthony appeared to throw a punch at Collins, and then backed away toward the center of the court.
New York's Jared Jeffries ran from the baseline toward Anthony, but was tackled by a Denver player. The brawl stretched to the other end of the court toward the Nuggets' bench before coaches and security finally pulled Smith away and restored order.
Smith appeared to have a red mark along the left side of his cheek and was yelling as he was escorted back to the locker room.
Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, Eduardo Najera, Smith and Anthony were the Nuggets who were ejected; Channing Frye, David Lee, Collins, Robinson and Jeffries were the Knicks who were kicked out.
"Clearly this isn't how we or the NBA wants to be perceived," Thomas said. "It should have been a foul and the guy takes two free throws and maybe some words, but it shouldn't have escalated. This isn't even a rivalry."
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league would "review the incident in its entirety. Until then, it would not be appropriate to comment."
With each team forced to put five new players on the floor, Denver finished up the win and ended a two-game losing streak. Camby had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Miller added 12 points and 10 assists.
Anthony was in the midst of a superb second half, having scored 23 points in 23 minutes after halftime. Camby, a former Knicks center, added seven blocked shots, and the Nuggets shot a season-best 57 percent from the field.
Stephon Marbury had his best game of the season for the Knicks, scoring a season-high 31 points and adding eight assists. Eddy Curry had 19 points, Robinson scored 17, and Lee finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Robinson said the Nuggets were trying to run up the score in the final minutes.
"If we're up 20 points, we're not going to play Stephon and Eddy," Robinson said. "It's like a slap in the face, saying we're going to embarrass you like that."