2006_12_sdailynews.gifIt is getting impossible to root for the Knicks anymore. The franchise is completely lost, stuck over the salary cap for the rest of the decade and playing uninspired basketball. Now we learn that the head coach is running the team like a mob boss, ordering his players to take out opponents.

These are the facts we know at this point. George Karl and Isiah Thomas do not get along at all. Karl is a good friend of Larry Brown and he was clearly trying to humiliate the Knicks Saturday by keeping his starters in the game with a huge lead. We know that Isiah didn’t appreciate this and warned Nuggets star, Carmelo Anthony, to stay out of the paint.

The rest is a process of connecting the dots. Isiah was yelling for his players to take out San Antonio’s Bruce Bowen, earlier in the year, screaming, “Break his foot”. (Don’t forget that Bowen plays for Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown’s best friend in the NBA.) Mardy Collins, who played college ball for another coach who ordered “a hit”, John Cheney, committed a flagrant foul against Indiana Friday night when the Pacers were humiliating the Knicks.

So, we have the warning and we have the previous behavior. What we don’t have is whether or not there was a conversation between Thomas and Collins and what happened in it. But, just like the movie, you can bet Isiah wants to tell the world what he did. We just need David Stern and Stu Jackson to channel Daniel Kaffee and we can only watch the Knicks sink lower and lower.

And if you haven't seen the fight, here's the MSG footage:

And for some closer, slow motion action, there's this ESPN News clip. Expect suspensions for the fight to come down later today.

UPDATE: The NBA has announced punishments for Saturday's brawl. Carmelo Anthony got 15 games, J.R. Smith and Nate Robinson 10 games, Mardy Collins 6 games, Jared Jeffries 4 games and Jerome James and Nene 1 game each. Isiah Thomas was not disciplined.