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HISTORIC BRAWL IN THE NBA Click here
to watch the video AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 19 (Ticker) -- Stephen Jackson made quite a first
impression on the overheated rivalry between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons.
knockouts of all kinds as the Pacers brawled with fans in the stands and on
the court after a 97-82 victory over the Pistons, a game that was called with
45 seconds to play.
In one of
the craziest melees in NBA history, Jackson, Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal
all landed haymakers on unruly Pistons fans, who showed the worst side of their
behavior by throwing everything from plastic bottles to chairs at members of
the Pacers, who fought back - literally.
the ugliest thing I've ever seen in my life as a coach or player," Pistons
coach Larry Brown said. "I'm just embarrassed for our league and disappointed
being a part of this with young people seeing that."
went into the stands to accost fans who had thrown things. Jackson climbed into
the seats and landed a roundhouse right that floored a fan next to another fan
who had thrown a plastic beer bottle at Artest, hitting him in the face.
to throw things and verbally accost members of the Pacers. Several came onto
the court and one took a fighting stance against Artest, who dropped him with
a punch. O'Neal ran over and floored another fan with a righthanded blow.
Former NBA player
and ESPN announcer Bill Walton said under no circumstances should players react
to fans' actions.
to prepare yourself for every eventuality," he said. "Yes, the temptation
is always there, but the discipline required to become an NBA player, the privilege
and honor that goes with being an NBA player, prohibits you from ever crossing
"It was a
frightful, devastating experience. There will be major ramifications of this
for both teams and this could have a huge impact for the rest of the NBA."
There was some
speculation after the game that assault charges would be filed against one or
more of the Pacers, but nothing was expected Friday night.
"The NBA is
withholding comment until it can review the incident," NBA spokesman Tim
Frank said. Players from both teams left without comment.
"I don't believe
anyone will be arrested tonight," said Tom Wilson, the president of Palace
Sports and Entertainment. "The Pacers are going to leave and if criminal
charges are decided on, they will come back at that point."
Fighting with each
other minutes earlier, the Pacers and Pistons quickly teamed up to fight off
the fans. Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace and radio announcer Rick Mahorn went
into the stands to try to break things up. Referee Tommy Nunez Jr. was clipped
in the head with a thrown bottle, opening a cut.
The game was called,
which forced the Pacers to make their way through a gauntlet of angry fans who
continued to throw objects despite pleas from Brown. Players and team officials
were showered with beer, soda and popcorn. No players from either team spoke
with the media.
"I felt like
I was fighting for my life out there," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle told
Acquired in the
offseason, Jackson is new to this rivalry, which peaked with the Pistons defeating
the Pacers in six physical games in last season's Eastern Conference finals.
He scored 13 points,
including a dagger 3-pointer and dunk less than 40 seconds apart that ended
a rally by the Pistons and gave the Pacers a 93-79 lead with 3:52 to play.
Artest scored 24
points and initially showed remarkable restraint. With 45 seconds left, he fouled
Ben Wallace, who clearly overreacted and shoved Artest with a chokehold.
Artest walked away
but was followed by Wallace, who had to be restrained. While players from both
teams jawed at each other and order was being restored, Artest lay down on the
scorer's table when he was hit with the bottle, and the Palace looked like a
the game had to end this way," Carlisle said. "It was a great game
up to that point."
O'Neal had 20 points
and 13 rebounds and Austin Croshere scored 15 points for the Pacers, who have
won three in a row.
scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace added 19 for the Pistons, who rallied from
a 20-point first-half deficit to get within 84-79 with just under eight minutes
to go. O'Neal made a free throw before Croshere sank a 3-pointer and Jackson
sealed the win.
Indiana held a
36-29 lead before embarking on a 13-0 run fueled by O'Neal to open a 20-point
lead midway through the second quarter.