There's an old story. It's about an explorer and a rattlesnake. One day, the explorer is travelling through the wilderness, and he comes upon a rattlesnake trapped underneath a rock. The snake begs him to move the rock and set him free. The explorer knows better and tells the snake, well If I do that, you'll just bite me. But the snake promises that he won't. He tells him that he'll die otherwise. The explorer feels guilty, and moves the rock. As soon as the snake is set free, he bites him. At first the explorer is mad, but then he realizes that he's only mad at himself. The snake was just doing what was in his nature. Snakes bite people.
I feel like I just got bit. A few days ago I defended Isiah Thomas, talking about how if his boss wasn't willing to fire him, faulting him for his behavior was pointless. I went so far as to say that I was "through blaming him". After what he did at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, I am back to being actively angry at him. The Denver Nuggets were giving a heavy thrashing to the Knicks and it bothered Isiah. He felt like George Karl was running up the score. So, he (idiotically) warned Carmelo Anthony to stay out of the paint, and got caught on tape doing it. A couple plays later, JR Smith was on a breakaway, and so Knick Mardy Collins wrapped and tossed him to the ground. Tempers flared, and a fight broke out. Carmelo (stupidly) rushed in late and hit Collins in the jaw, escalating the situation further. Now Denver will be without the NBA's leading scorer for a while and we're back to the NBA being perceived as a league of thugs.
Isiah looked culpable enough already, but his post game comments drove home the role he played:
I just said to him, 'You're up 19 with a minute and a half to go. You and Camby really shouldn't be in the game right now.' We had surrendered. And those guys shouldn't have been in the game at that time. They were sticking it to us pretty good. They were having their way with us pretty good. I think J.R. Smith had just made one dunk where he reverses it and spins in the air. I thought that Mardy didn't want to have our home crowd see that again and he fouled him.
Well, Isiah, I think someone on the bench whose name starts with I and ends with siah Thomas told Mardy that he should stop the bleeding. You know what might have been better than orchestrating a play where someone could have ended up seriously hurt? NOT BEING A TERRIBLE COACH. If you don't like losing by large margins, then be angry at yourself for building a disaster of a roster. Work on your players to play better defense. You think George Karl is a poor sport for keeping his stars in? Understandable. But don't pretend putting a hit on the Nuggets is justifiable. Live with the fact that you suck.
Now, to dispel the perception that the NBA is the most gangsta of leagues, here is a video of strapping young lads engaged in sportsmanlike conduct: