16 years ago, Madison Square Garden became an octagon!
Before joining the Knicks in 2011 after an endless soap opera, Carmelo anthony is the star player for the Nuggets. A true franchise player backed by JR Smith in particular, and on December 16, 2006, they will be involved in one of the greatest battles in NBA history.
Punches, provocations and almost universal scrums led to expulsions and suspensions in the Mecca of basketball. And this was two years after the infamous matchup between the Pacers and the Pistons.
It all starts with a mistake, like two years before…
As at the Palace of Auburn Hills, events unfold when the match is folded (100-119) and there are seconds left to play…
On a counterattack from JR Smith, Mardy Collins pinned the Nuggets back on the ground. Obviously the Nugget shows himself immediately to explain himself, Carmelo Anthony quickly follows as Nate Robinson insults two Denver players. An attitude that ulcerated JR Smith, who jumped him and the clash moved to the front rows of Madison Square Garden.
After a few seconds of insanity, everything seems to have calmed down, but Melo stupidly punched Mardy Collins in the face and then ran away. Jarred Jeffries showed up but many players and coaches held the winger back so he didn’t do any worse than Melo.
When everything is calm again or nearly so, the ten players present on the ground are not accompanied by the referees, including the famous Dick Bavetta. The punishments in the NBA don’t take long to fall: 47 suspension games in total, including 15 for Carmelo Anthony.
Twenty-four hours later, Allen Iverson arrived at the Nuggets!
JR Smith and Nate Robinson will be banned for ten games, Mardy Collins six, Jared Jeffries four, finally Nene and Jerome James will only get one game. Both franchises will be charged $500,000.
The next day, the Nuggets would make the most impressive move of the season by bringing in Allen Iverson from Philadelphia. Carmelo Anthony, at the time, was the league’s leading scorer with 31.6 points per game and his image would be tarnished within weeks. Ironically, he and JR Smith would go on to play for the New York Knicks…