for this game

Wild fight breaks out as Nuggets rout Knicks

Dec 17, 2006 - 5:31 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Madison Square Garden has been home to some famous fights. Add another one to the list.

In a game marred by a wild melee in the closing minutes, Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points before being ejected with nine other players for throwing a punch as the Denver Nuggets routed the New York Knicks, 123-100.

Marcus Camby had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets, who angered Knicks coach Isiah Thomas by keeping all their starters on the floor with the game in hand, which may have triggered the brawl.

"We had surrendered and those guys shouldn't have even been in the game at that point in time," Thomas said. "They were sticking it to us pretty good and they were having their way with us."

"I'm not going to comment on that comment," Denver coach George Karl said. "We're not playing well and we're going to take substitutions in the game when I want to win the game? Coaches get tight. We were conservative, and substituted conservatively, in the second half. Sometimes, you just have to finish the game with the guys on the court."

Thomas jawed with Anthony earlier in the fourth quarter.

"I just said to him, "You're up 20 or you're up 19 with a minute and a half to go," Thomas said. "You and Camby really shouldn't be in the game right now."

"Things happened," Knicks guard Nate Robinson said. "From what they did as far as keeping guys in, I knew a foul was going to come, a hard one because we're not going to let guys keep dunking when they're up 20 and they have their starters in."

With Denver leading, 117-100, and 1:29 remaining, New York rookie Mardy Collins tackled J.R. Smith as he was attempting a transition layup. Tempers flared and bodies careened into the first row of the stands underneath the Knicks' basket.

The foul came moments after Smith threw down an emphatic reverse dunk.

"It was a foul where (Collins) didn't want the guy dunking again," Thomas said. "I thought he grabbed him, and I can understand that the officials would call that a flagrant one or a flagrant two because he did grab him. But that should have been the end of it. He should have shot two free throws and that should have been the end of it."

"I haven't watched it. I feel bad for the league," Karl said. "I feel bad for the Nuggets and the Knicks. Very poor display of respecting basketball, of respecting the game in the best place in the world to play basketball."

The 5-9 Robinson and the 6-6 Smith wrestled, while Knicks guard Jared Jeffries was being restrained by team security.

"You're trying to protect your team, you're trying to protect yourself in a situation like that," Robinson said. "Things happened so fast, you don't know what's going on."

"The biggest thing is protecting your teammates, protecting your guys no matter if somebody gets hurt out there," Jeffries said.

As the situation was being sorted out, Anthony landed a clean punch on Collins. All 10 players on the court were ejected.

"The whole scene was (mortifying)," Karl said. "It was a lack of mental stability. I'm not going to elaborate because I don't know what happened exactly."

Anthony declined to comment.

There is some bad blood between the teams. Thomas and Karl had argued during a summer league meeting.

Before the fight, Anthony had a remarkable game, demoralizing the Knicks with easy drives to the basket. He shot 15-of-29 from the floor.

Stephon Marbury scored 31 points for New York, which shot 43 percent (41-of-95).

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