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Originally published Sunday, December 17, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Nuggets, Knicks brawl; 10 ejected

Ten players, including NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony, were ejected for fighting during a wild brawl near the end...

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — 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 fought with Detroit Pistons' fans on the court and in the stands in 2004.

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, a former standout at the University of Washington and Seattle's Rainier Beach High School, 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.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league would "review the incident in its entirety. Until then, it would not be appropriate to comment."

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