A donnybrook in which Yao Ming squares off against Steve Nash, practically everyone else gets involved in the scuffling, and then Shaq runs in and starts throwing people around like Andre the Giant? Why didn't someone tell me that Wednesday's Rockets-Suns game was going to be so much fun? Video below. It all happened at the US Airways Center late in the third quarter, and began when Suns forward Matt Barnes lowered his shoulder and rammed into Houston guard Rafer Alston, who was setting a high screen. Alston came back to confront Barnes in the middle of the floor, and ... wait, is that Steve Nash's entrance music? Nash suddenly shows up and starts punching people's knees and biting ankles, until McGrady throws the hobbit-like guard to the floor. A few shoves by Ming — but they are gentle shoves, sprinkled with kindness — and now here's Shaq! His shoves are not so benign — it's not his fault he is the biggest and the strongest! — and now Suns coach Terry Porter is getting in the middle of everything. Bad idea; that tie makes for an excellent handle. Click to view The Rockets won, 94-82. Barnes:
"They're not going to screen me hard," said Barnes, who was ejected along with Alston. "So I ran through a screen and he didn't like that. You've always got to watch out for your team, especially for your star point guard. I don't really know what he was thinking. He thinks he's tough so he ran up on me. It was just a bunch of pushing."
"He just took a cheap shot at me. If you look at the replay, the ref is standing there watching it. It was a dirty play. He raised his arm. Good thing he didn't connect and knock my teeth out. I was just setting a screen. We were trying to get a two-for-one. I don't know if he was frustrated by his game or their game or whatever was going on but there was no call for that. There was no call for my reaction really but sometimes when you someone goes at you like that, you just react."
"He (Alston) ran at Matt so I tried to get in there and help Matt. Just making sure he wasn't outnumbered over there and try to diffuse the situation and I got pushed to the ground. After that, it just all kind of happened so quickly."
Here's another angle.
There were two ejections and seven technicals. Oh, and O'Neal's 18 points pushed him past John Havlicek to 10th place on the NBA career scoring list with 26,402. He's now 267 points behind ninth-place Dominique Wilkins. And the most amazing part of all of this? About the only player not involved in the fight was Ron Artest. Skirmish Erupts In Suns' Loss [Arizona Republic]