Five unforgettable NBA fights — unlike Lee vs. Hibbert
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org March 2, 2013 1:10AM
The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry scores a three-pointer against the Knicks as part of his 54-point onslaught Wednesday. | Bruce Bennett~Getty Images
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:31AM
There was a time when NBA fights meant something — when men were men and shorts fit like Speedos.
The shoving match between the Golden State Warriors and the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday drew a lot of attention as the Warriors’ David Lee and the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert traded junior-high pushes. Make that a lot of unnecessary attention.
On the classic hardwood fights Richter scale, the needle didn’t even budge. You want NBA fights? Here are the top five most memorable throwdowns of all time:
5. Shawn Bradley vs. Mark Davis. Not since Rocky Balboa picked up Ivan Drago and slammed him in ‘‘Rocky IV’’ had there been a bigger height differential in a toe-to-toe. In 2000, the 7-6 Mormon stepped to Davis, doing his best peacocking, and was promptly picked up and body-slammed with little resistance.
4. Derek Harper vs. Jo Jo English. The Bulls and New York Knicks hated each other in the 1990s. Game 3 of the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals didn’t help. Harper slams English, the benches empty, but the classic moment is the look on NBA commissioner David Stern’s face as all hell erupts on his product just a few feet in front of him.
3. Tree Rollins vs. Danny Ainge. The Celtics were the team to hate in the 1980s, and guard Danny Ainge was the poster child for that disdain. In Game 3 of the ’83 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Ainge got a Tree branch to the face and tackled Rollins, then was head-locked by Rollins in the mass of bodies and bitten, requiring several stitches in his finger.
2. Larry Johnson vs. Alonzo Mourning. These two were supposed to be the future in Charlotte . . . until they quickly realized they hated each other. They would meet in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 1998, Johnson with the Knicks and Mourning with the Miami Heat. With seconds left in the game, a flurry of haymakers started. But the highlight was coach Jeff Van Gundy trying to save the day by hanging on to Mourning’s leg and being dragged like a mop.
1. Indiana Pacers vs. Everyone else in the Palace of Auburn Hills. As ugly a sports brawl as there ever has been, especially when Detroit Pistons fans started getting laid out. It was a 2004 game between the Pacers and Pistons, which meant Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Stephen Jackson and the artist formally known as Ron Artest were all in the arena at the same time. By the time it ended in the stands, some of the longest suspensions in NBA history were coming, including 86 total games for Artest.
Player of the week
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors guard: So the NBA kept the baby-faced assassin out of the All-Star Game? Payback is being dished out now, as Curry exploded for a combined 92 points in a two-game span, including a 54-point outburst against the Knicks. Curry was 18-for-23 from beyond the three-point line in the two games.
Team of the week
Heat. Miami lost on Feb. 1, then ran the table into March with 12 straight wins.
The Big Five
1. Heat. 2. Oklahoma City Thunder. 3. San Antonio Spurs. 4. Los Angeles Clippers. 5. Pacers.
54 The number of points Curry scored in a loss to the Knicks on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. It was an obvious career high for Curry, who also shot 11-for-13 from three-point range. Knicks center Tyson Chandler had a career-high 28 rebounds in the same game.
Key games for week
of March 4-10
Los Angeles Lakers at Thunder, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Kobe Bryant has called his shot, insisting that once the Lakers make the playoffs, no team will scare them. Good luck with that.
Thunder at Knicks, 7 p.m. Thursday. Kevin Durant and Co. arrive for a showdown with Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. Mark KD down for at least 35 points.
Pacers at Heat, 5 p.m., March 10. The Pacers had the Heat against the ropes in the second round of the postseason last year and felt like they let LeBron James and his teammates off the hook. Here’s another chance to prove themselves.